Hydrophyllum appendiculatum Michx.

Woollen Breeches

Hydrophyllum appendiculatum plant

Family - Hydrophyllaceae

Stems - To +50cm tall, branching, single from the base, herbaceous, scabrous, hispid, angled from decurrent leaf tissue.

Leaves - Alternate, petiolate. Petioles to +17cm long, scabrous, hispidulous. Blades of lower leaves deeply 5-lobed, with a few much smaller lobes on the petiole, green above, silvery-green below, hispidulous, to +12cm long and broad. Lobes acute, shallowly dentate. Teeth mucronate.

Hydrophyllum appendiculatum leaves

Hydrophyllum appendiculatum basalsSpring leaves in-situ.

Inflorescence - Terminal scorpoid panicle to 10cm long. Peduncle hispid. Pedicels to 6-7mm long, hispid.

Flowers - Corolla lilac (or rarely white), 5-lobed. Corolla tube to 4mm long, glabrous. Lobes rounded, 5-6mm long and broad, glabrous externally and internally except for vertical rows of hairs at base of lobe sinuses, fimbrillate on margins. Stamens 5, adnate at base of corolla tube, erect, mostly included. Filaments white-lilac, 8-9mm long, glabrous. Anthers lilac, to 3mm long. Ovary superior, unilocular, with yellow nectariferous ring at the base, conic, 1mm long, with erect white hispid pubescence. Style 7-8mm long, glabrous, white to lilac. Stigma 2-lobed, 1mm long. Calyx 5-lobed and with 5 small projections alternating with the lobes. Projections to 1mm long, spreading. Lobes attenuate, 6mm long, hispid, erect.

Hydrophyllum appendiculatum calyxCalyx.

Hydrophyllum appendiculatum flower

Hydrophyllum appendiculatum flower

Flowering - April - July.

Habitat - Moist rich woods, slopes, base of bluffs, thickets, wooded valleys.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This species can be found throughout Missouri but is apparently absent from the plains region at the southwestern edge of the state. The plant can be locally abundant in the habitats mentioned above.
Steyermark mentions two forms based on flower color. Form appendiculatum has a lilac or purplish flower. Form album Steyermark has a white flower and is rare.
This species would do well in a shaded garden setting and is worthy of cultivation. It is a biennial plant.

Photographs taken at Weston Bend State Park, MO., 5-12-01.