Buchnera americana L. - Blue Hearts

Buchnera americana plant

Family - Scrophulariaceae

Stems - To +/-60cm tall, simple, erect, herbaceous, purple above, scabrous (hispidulous), weakly 4-angled to terete.

Buchnera americana stem

Leaves - Opposite, sessile, lanceolate, with few coarse serrate teeth, scabrous, acute, to 6cm long, +/-1.5cm broad, with 3 conspicuous main veins arising from base of blade, decussate.

Buchnera americana leaves

Inflorescence - Terminal spike to -15cm long. Flowers decussate to alternate on axis. Each flower subtended by 3 scalelike bracts. Central bract lance-ovate, to 5mm long. Lateral bracts (bractlets) linear, 3mm long. All bracts scabrous.

Flowers - Corolla 5-lobed, purple, zygomorphic, salverform. Corolla tube to 1.4cm long, pubescent, white below (in calyx), purple above, bearded internally and at apex of throat with multicellular hairs. Largest corolla lobes to 9mm long, 3-4mm broad, often notched at apex. All lobes pubescent internally and externally. Stamens 4, adnate at lower 1/4 of corolla tube, subequal, included. Filaments greenish, 1.1m long, glabrous. Anthers purple, 2mm long. Style green, glabrous, included, to 3mm long. Ovary superior, cylindric, green, glabrous, 3mm long. Placentation free central, ovules many.  Calyx tube to 6mm long in flower, antrorse strigose, 5-lobed, 10-nerved. Lobes acute, 1.5-2mm long. Calyx accrescent.

Buchnera americana calyxCalyx.

Buchnera americana corollaCorolla lobes.

Flowering - June - September.

Habitat - Prairies and limestone glades.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This species can be found in the lower 1/2 of Missouri and is relatively infrequent. It can be found in dry to wet areas of the habitats mentioned above. The flowers are quite showy and the plant is worthy of cultivation. It grows fine from seed.
In the leaf scan above the leaves appear quite dark. This is due to the fact that the leaves of this species quickly turn black when bruised or picked.

Photographs taken at Taberville Prairie, MO., 6-16-05.


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