September 21, 2023


Taste the Home & Environment

Indigenous W.Va. backyard garden plant could go unnoticed in the wild

A bed of Hydrophyllum virginianum will come into flower. (Image courtesy North Carolina State Extension Provider.)

A image speaks a thousand text, and that’s a good thing mainly because I have a lot to say about this plant that could very best be claimed in shots. And I’d be content to hear that this short article stimulated you sufficient to go out looking for Hydrophyllum virginianum in the wild this spring.


Initially, let’s chat about the title of the genus—Hydrophyllum, which is Latin for “waterleaf.” The plant’s widespread name is Virginia Waterleaf, bestowed upon it because of the silvery marbling of its leaves, which resemble drinking water spots.

A very well-acknowledged plant amid most native-plant nerds, why is it not on everyone’s radar? Perhaps for the reason that it emerges early in the spring as a minimal-increasing plant that’s swiftly concealed by more substantial vegetation and shrubs. Potentially you weren’t out early ample to see the marbling just before the leaves faded to a dim environmentally friendly hue? But now that you know, slow down and glimpse together the roadbanks that you’ve been dashing by for yrs.

According to some virginianum followers, youthful leaves and shoots are delicious when cooked, but take in them early. They are tender when youthful but grow chewy. Indigenous Individuals applied root tea as an astringent for diarrhea and dysentery, and uncooked roots ended up chewed to handle mouth sores.

The "water-marked" leaf of Hydrophyllum virginianum comes into flower.
The “drinking water-spotted” leaf of Hydrophyllum virginianum. (Photo: N.C. State Extension Assistance.)

Hydrophyllum virginianum is an attractive floor include in moist, shady places, and its leaves will past in the course of the rising season if sufficient humidity is offered. If you make your mind up to transplant it to your back garden, make absolutely sure to give it that moist, shady place and a great deal of place, as it is a vigorous grower.

You might be asking yourself why I haven’t pointed out its flowers however. Very well, the foliage is so dramatic and putting that the flowers get a backseat to the foliage. The flowers of this species are small clusters of bell-shaped white-to-lilac bouquets about a third of an inch extended. They bloom from Might to June—sometimes with an infrequent further bloom in August.

So, here’s one more uncommon but surely-not-uncommon plant to incorporate to your knowledge foundation of the indigenous crops we are blessed to have in this botanical paradise called West Virginia.

Barry Glick, a transplanted Philadelphian, has resided in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, given that 1972. His mountaintop yard and nursery attract gardeners from every state in the earth. Barry writes and lectures extensively about native vegetation and Hellebores and welcomes guests with progress detect. He can be arrived at at [email protected],, or 304-497-2208.