Veronicastrum virginicum (L.) Farw. - Culver's Root

Veronicastrum virginicum plant

Family - Scrophulariaceae

Stems - To 1.75m tall, branching above or not, erect, herbaceous, glabrous to pubescent or villous.

Veronicastrum virginicum stem

Leaves - Whorled, up to 7 at a node but typically four or five, sessile to very short petiolate. Blade lanceolate to linear oblong, serrate, to +12cm long, +2cm broad, glabrous above, dense pubescent below.

Veronicastrum virginicum leaves

Inflorescence - Terminal spikiform racemes to 20cm long(tall), densely flowered, indeterminate. Pedicels to .5mm long. Each flower subtended by a small attenuate bract to 1.1mm long.

Veronicastrum virginicum inflorescence

Flowers - Corolla subbilabiate, white (sometimes pinkish), glabrous. Corolla tube to 6mm long. Upper lip single lobed. Lobe to 1.5mm long, rounded. Lower lip 3-lobed. Lobes rounded, to 1.5mm long. Stamens 2, exserted, adnate near base of corolla tube. Filaments pubescent at base, white, to 1.3cm long. Anthers orange, to 1.3mm long. Style glabrous, brown, included, to 7mm long. Ovary green, glabrous, superior, 1mm long, with deep green nectariferous ring at base. Locules 2. Placentation axile. Fruit a terete capsule to -5mm long, many seeded. Calyx subbilabiate, the sepals appearing almost distinct. Lobes lanceolate, to 1.5mm long, acute, glabrous, green. Lower lobes typically a bit longer than the upper lobes.

Veronicastrum virginicum flowers

Flowering - June - August.

Habitat - Moist to wet open ground, rich open woods.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This plant is easily identified as nothing else in the state's flora resembles it. The plant is being cultivated more frequently and adds a brilliant white splash of color to any landscape. It also re-seeds easily. A common name for the plant is "Veronica" which is bad because the genus Veronica is in the same family but the plants are totally different. Just another reason to learn the scientific names.

Photographs taken off Hwy H, Shannon County, MO., 7-18-03, and off CR3652, Ripley County, MO., 7-5-04.


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