Gerardia flava L.

Gerardia flava plant

Family - Scrophulariaceae

Stems - To 1.5m tall, multiple from the base, erect, herbaceous, often purple, glabrous, glaucous, fistulose, branching.

Leaves - Opposite, decussate, pinnatifid, becoming linear near the apex, sessile, to +/-15cm long, +6cm broad, glabrous below, short sparse pubescent above, deep green above, lighter below, easily broken or damaged, sub-succulent.

Gerardia flava leavesPressed leaves.

Inflorescence - Terminal and axillary bracteate racemes. Each flower subtended by a linear bract. Pedicels to 5-8mm long, glabrous. Racemes to +/-40cm long.

Flowers - Corolla yellow, zygomorphic, +/-5cm long, glabrous externally, pubescent at the base internally. Lobes of corolla rounded, to 1.5cm long, +/-2cm broad. Stamens 4, didynamous, adnate near the base of the corolla tube, slightly exserted. Filaments yellow, to +3cm long, with a single vertical strip of curly yellow pubescence. Anthers to 7mm long, spurred at the base. Ovary superior, surrounded by a dark green nectariferous ring, somewhat compressed, glabrous. Style glabrous, greenish, +4cm long. Calyx tube to 7mm long, glabrous, weakly bilabiate, green. Lobes of the calyx linear, green, to 6mm long, 1.1mm broad.

Gerardia flava flower

Gerardia flava flower

Gerardia flava calyxCalyx.

Flowering - June - September.

Habitat - Rocky open woods, borders of glades.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This striking species can be found in the southeastern corner of Missouri. The plant is fairly common in the habitats mentioned above.
Steyermark separates the species into two varieties based on leaf division thickness. Variety flava has leaf divisions which are 5-15mm broad and the leaves are not cut all the way to the midrib. Variety calycosa (Mackenz. & Bush) Steyerm. has leaf divisions which are 1-5mm broad and leaves which are cut nearly all the way to the midrib. This variety is shown above. Both varieties are equally common in Missouri.

Photographs at the Peck Ranch Conservation Area, Carter County, MO., 7-12-03.


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