Virginia Waterleaf

Virginia Waterleaf
Virginia Waterleaf. Hydrophyllum virginianum.
Boraginaceae, the borage or forget-me-not family.

Plant: Erect forest plant, 1'-2' tall, with sharply-toothed compound leaves and rounded clusters of white or sometimes violet bell-shaped flowers rising above the leaves. Perennial
Flowers: White, sometimes violet, 1/4"-1/2", bell-shaped, with five divisions, and five hairy sepals. Five stamens protrude well beyond the flower, the filaments bearing distinctive clumps of brownish hairs. Flowers in compact, rounded clusters (technically compound cymes or panicles) that rise above the level of the leaves.
Leaves: Alternate, compound, 3"-6" long, pinnately 5-7 parted with the terminal triple merged at the base rather than as fully distinct leaflets, ovate leaflets sharply toothed and pointed.
Fruit: A spherical capsule.
Blooming: May-August?
Habitat: Deciduous woods, moist clearings.

Comments: One of several waterleaf species in our area, mainly distinguished by leaf shape. The plants were originally placed in their own family, but are now grouped with forget-me-nots and bluebells in the borage family. The flowers continue blooming later than most of the forest flowers, which are typically most numerous in early spring before the tree leaves block the light. They are very attractive to a variety of bees and wasps.

Where to find it: Scattered through the upper woods of the park.