Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Erect Coinleaf - Centella asiatica   (L.) Urban
Members of Apiaceae:
Only member of Centella in NC.
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Section 6 » Family Apiaceae
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Author(L.) Urban
DistributionPresent over nearly all of the Coastal Plain, but absent from the northwestern portions.

This is a Coastal Plain species, ranging from southern NJ south to southern FL and west to central TX. Also widespread in West Indies, Central and South America. It is considered to occur pan-tropically.
AbundanceCommon to often very common in most areas in the Coastal Plain, almost appearing weedy at times.
HabitatThis is a wetland species of many habitats, but always where there is little woody or tall herbaceous competition. It grows along pond margins, ditches, wet savannas, streamsides, and openings in marshes.
PhenologyBlooms from June to August, and fruits from July to September.
IdentificationThis is a rhizomatous species, growing in colonies close to the ground, with short but somewhat erect leaves on petioles that are up to 3-4" tall. Each blade is rounded to orbicular, with a strongly cordate base, and scalloped on the margin, about 1-1.5" long and slightly less wide. The flower umbels are on very short stalks barely 1-2" tall, each containing only 4-9 flowers in each umbel. The flowers are white and small, but petals quickly fall, such that it can often be difficult to find patches of the plant actually in bloom with the white petals. This is a very familiar "mat" plant in Coastal Plain sunny wet places; some Hydrocotyle species can look somewhat similar, but most leaves are peltate in those species.
Taxonomic CommentsMany references treat the species as Centella erecta, native to the New World. Despite the specific epithet name of asiatica, this is a native species in the US and Latin America (as well as the Old World).

Other Common Name(s)Coinleaf, Centella, Erect Centella, False Pennywort, American Coinleaf. No single common name is even remotely in common usage.
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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