Lechea villosa Ell. - Pinweed

Lechea villosa plant

Family - Cistaceae

Stems - Single to multiple from the base, perennial from a big taproot, erect, herbaceous, to -1m tall, terete, green but reddish in strong sun, villous (the hairs with pustulate bases), scabrous because of the bases of the hairs, mostly simple except for in the inflorescence.

Lechea villosa stem

Leaves - Cauline leaves opposite, short-petiolate. Petioles to +/-3mm long, villous. Blades elliptic, acute, cuneate at the base, entire, to +/-3cm long, +/-6mm broad, antrorse, pubescent above and below, green.

Lechea villosa leaves

Inflorescence - Dense axillary bracteate panicles in the apical 1/3 of the stem. Each branch of the panicle subtended by a reduced foliaceous bract. Branches of the panicles villous to antrorse pubescent. Pedicels to 1mm long, antrorse pubescent.

Flowers - Petals 3, -2mm long, -1mm broad, glabrous, reddish-purple, rounded at the apex, shorter than the sepals. Stamens 5, from below the globose ovary. Filaments purple, glabrous, +/-2mm long, filiform. Anthers tan but quickly drying to blackish with tan ridges, .2mm long. Ovary green, glabrous, globose, -1mm in diameter in flower, superior. Style (stigma) flattened, purple at the base, yellow above, fimbriate. Sepals 5, green, erect, with whitish-scarious margins, cupped, with some hairs externally, glabrous internally, acute to rounded at the apex.

Lechea villosa flower

Flowering - July - November.

Habitat - Rocky open glades, rocky open woods, sandy and fallow fields, prairies, roadsides.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This weedy-looking species can be found mainly in the southern half of Missouri. The plant is easy to overlook becasue of its small flowers and small leaves.
The Missouri material belongs to variety villosa.

Photographs taken near Spout Spring in Carter County, MO., 7-5-04.


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