Lippia lanceolata Michx.

Lippia lanceolata plant

Family - Verbenaceae

Stems - Erect to ascending, rooting at nodes, to +/-45cm tall, herbaceous, (4)-angled, green to purple and often with purple vertical striations, appearing glabrous but with malpighian trichomes (use lens to see).

Lippia lanceolata stem

Leaves - Opposite, decussate, tapering to the base, lanceolate, serrate, +/-5cm long, +/-2cm broad, with impressed veins above, expressed veins below, strigillose on both surfaces.

Lippia lanceolata leaves

Inflorescence - Dense globose to cylindric capitate clusters of flowers on a long axillary peduncle. Peduncles from the upper leaf axils, to +/-9cm long, pubescent as the stem, expanding just below the flower cluster. Each flower subtended by one bract. Bracts to 3mm long, acute, broadest in the middle, tapering to the base, glabrous internally, strigose externally, often purplish in the apical half, to -3mm broad.

Lippia lanceolata inflorescence

Flowers - Corolla white, glabrous, 4-lobed, +/-4mm long. The upper and lower lobes more or less truncate at the apex. The lateral lobes slightly more rounded. Lobes to 1.5mm long, 1mm broad, unequal. Stamens 4, included, didynamous, adnate near the middle of the corolla tube. Filaments wanting. Anthers yellow, .3-.4mm broad. Ovary superior, greenish, glabrous, .5mm long in flower. Style short, green, glabrous, .5mm long. Stigma green, sub-globose, .3mm in diameter, slightly nodding or facing "forward." Calyx 2-lobed. The tube whitish, 1mm long. The lobes opposing, to 1.4mm long, cupped, whitish, acute, with short hairs on the outer surfaces and longer hairs on the midrib, glabrous internally.

Lippia lanceolata flowersFlowers close-up.

Flowering - May - September.

Habitat - Moist to wet soils.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - The actual flowers and racemes of the plant are small but the plant forms colonies and is easily found in wet, muddy areas. Close inspection of the flowers reveals that they are typical of the family Verbenaceae with a mostly irregular corolla and 4 stamens borne on and included within the corolla. This species is very common.
A synonym is Phyla lanceolata (Michx.) Greene-Rydberg.

Photographs taken somewhere in southern MO., 7-4-03.


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