Thursday, July 30, 2015

Florida pinkroot - Spigelia loganioides




Florida pinkroot (Spigelia loganioides) is an endemic perennial herb native to a five-county area in north peninsular Florida.  Throughout this confined range it occurs in floodplain forests and moist hammocks, often in soils underlain with limestone.  According to the Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI), it is known from only 10 populations. As such, ii is listed as a state endangered species. Florida pinkroot is related to the relatively common Indian pink (Spigelia marilandica), but is easily identified by its very small stature and white blooms. It is not as easily told apart from another rare white-flowered cousin, gentian pinkroot (Spigelia gentianoides). Gentian pinkroot is found in a very small portion of the central Panhandle around Torreya State Park and has flowers in a terminal spike. It also is a spring bloomer, while Florida pinkroot blooms in summer and has flowers in the forks of its leafy branches.
Florida pinkroot dies to the ground in winter. At maturity (late May), it reaches only 8 inches tall. The plants are upright on thin stems that are semi-woody at the base. Several stems occur on well-established plants. The leaves are about 1 inch long, oval in shape with a pointed end, and opposite each other on the stem.  The leaves also are without a petiole (sessile).
Flowering occurs in summer. The white buds, often with lavender overtones, are produced singly or in very small clusters near the top of the stems and in the leaf axils just below the top.  The open flowers are tubular, with five flaring lobes. Each bloom is white with darkish/purplish lines running the length of the tube and less than 1/2 inch in length.
Florida pinkroot is an interesting addition to our State's flora, but its small size makes it an unlikely candidate for commercial production. The plants photographed above were grown by my friend Rufino Osorio and one was given to me on a recent visit to his home. It has done well under pot culture for both of us, but requires ample moisture to maintain it.  Alexa and I do not expect to propagate this in the future at Hawthorn Hill, but to admire it for its simple beauty.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sensitive Briar - Mimosa quadrivalvis


Sensitive briar (Mimosa quadrivalvis) was formerly known as Schrankia microphylla. Its recent taxonomic change reflects its close relationship with sunshine mimosa (Mimosa strigillosa) - a plant it is sometimes confused with.  Two varieties of sensitive briar are recognized, but the differences are minute. The variety above (M. quadrivalvis var. floridana) has noticeable lateral leaf veins on the lower surface of its pinnately compound leaves. The other does not. Both varieties have identical geographic ranges and occur throughout Florida. This species also is present in much of the South to Texas and in southern Illinois. It can be found in a variety of upland habitats. The plants photographed above were found at Archbold Biological Station in scrub. The folded condition of its leaves belies its sensitivity to touch - a result of light rain that was falling.
Sensitive briar is a sprawling nearly woody perennial vine that rambles through the foliage of its neighbors. It is not a ground cover like sunshine mimosa, but it is equally rambling and difficult to control in a landscape.  It also is covered by recurved thorns. These thorns are present along the length of the stems and on the leaf petioles.  Though small in size, they nevertheless find a way to hook into your skin or clothes as you pass by... The leaflets are compound and small in size and linear in shape. The presence of a "pulvinus" at the attachment point on the stem generates an electrical pulse that causes the leaflets to fold if touched. Most botanists believe this to be a deterrent to herbivory as it makes the leaves look smaller and less attractive as food.
Flowers are typical of other mimosa species. They are produced nearly year round in pairs along the stems. Though small (only ~1/4 inch across), they are very attractive. Very small pollinators nectar from them.  It is not reported to be a larval host for the Little Yellow butterfly, as is sunshine mimosa.
Sensitive briar is a plant that can be encountered in a wide variety of upland settings throughout Florida. It can often be found in bloom as well. Just give it a bit of distance to avoid being scratched or hooked.

Sunshine Mimosa - Mimosa strigillosa




Sunshine mimosa (Mimosa strigillosa) is an evergreen perennial ground cover native to most of Florida, except the western half of the Panhandle.  It also is documented in the states immediately north and west of us, Georgia to Texas except Alabama.  It most commonly is resident to moist open habitats and in disturbed sites, though it is widely used as an ornamental ground cover and can escape from planted landscapes.
Sunshine mimosa is extremely hardy and spreads aggressively. It sends a great many stems (stolons) out in all directions from the main stem and they root periodically at the leaf nodes. The reddish stems and deep green foliage hug the ground and rarely stand more than 3-4 inches tall.  In sunny locations, this makes a dense ground cover and this plant is often used as an alternative to turf grass. Sunshine mimosa is a legume and it exhibits the typical pinnately compound foliage.  The leaves are not sensitive to touch as is that of sensitive briar (Mimosa quadrivalvis) - a plant it is sometimes confused with. The foliage also serves as one of many host plants for the Little Yellow butterfly.
Like other members of this genus, sunshine mimosa produces pink "powder puff" blooms. These are produced on single stems along the length of the runners and they stand about 6 inches above the foliage beneath. Flowering occurs from spring through fall and each bloom remains intact for more than a week. There are no petals; the pink blooms are composed only of the male and female reproductive parts. They are moderately visited by small pollinating insects.
Sunshine mimosa can be a curse or a godsend in the landscape depending on the setting and the goals you have for it. Though naturally present in moist soil habitats, it is extremely drought tolerant and adaptable to nearly any soil type. Its roots are stout and woody, and reach several feet deep into the soil column.  Over time, its spreading habit and dense foliage (which is reduced in winter, but still present) form a dense cover that limits weeds and unwanted plants, but also out-competes most other desirable wildflowers. Therefore, it does not make a good addition to a mixed wildflower garden. Its aggressive nature also makes it difficult to contain unless surrounded by concrete or asphalt.  The few plants added to our landscape by my wife over a decade ago, quickly left our yard and now comprise most of our next door neighbor's yard, from our property line all the way to his driveway, 50 feet away. As they are not gardeners, they are happy to have this low-maintenance "lawn". If it had been another neighbor, however, we might have caused problems. Sunshine mimosa can be contained also by shade.  It greatly prefers full or half-day sun and fizzles out beneath a shady canopy.
In the right location, this is a very valuable and attractive ground cover. Because of this, it is widely propagated and should be easy to find at commercial nurseries - even ones that don't specifically carry native plants. Just make sure that your landscape goals will not conflict with this plant's growth habit.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

White tassels - Dalea carnea var. gracilis


White tassels (Dalea carnea var. gracilis) is a white-flowered form of the more ubiquitous pink-flowered Dalea carnea var. carnea. Though some plant taxonomists consider it to be a distinct species (D. mountjoyae) most Florida ones give it only distinct variety status. White tassels is restricted in Florida to the central and western Panhandle counties in typical mesic flatwoods and open pinelands. Unlike our other more-widespread Dalea species (D. pinnata and D. feayi), it is more tolerant of moist soils during the summer rainy season. White tassels is also found in the states just north and west of us - Georgia to Louisiana.  
Where D. carnea var. carnea is often upright, white tassels is typically a trailing herbaceous species that acts almost like a vine, creeping through the adjacent vegetation.  The other white-flowered form (D. carnea var. albida) is typically upright as well.  White tassels is a perennial plant that dies back to the ground in winter. At maturity, in early summer, its stems are often several feet long and multiple stems are produced. The compound leaves alternate along the stem and are composed of 3-11 narrow oblong leaflets, mostly less than 1/2 inch long. Most leaves along the stems (those not at the ground) are composed of only 3-5 leaflets.  Those of other varieties normally have 7-9 leaflets on the stem.
White tassels blooms in late summer to early fall - before the other two species mentioned above typically flower.  Oblong flower heads occur at the end of each stem and the bright white flowers open a few at a time from the base of these heads to the tip. Plants remain in bloom for several weeks and are quite showy. They attract the attention of a variety of pollinators as well. Though a legume (the bean & pea family), it is not listed as a larval plant for any of the butterflies in Florida (such as the long-tailed skipper) that use other legumes.
Though white tassels is a beautiful and interesting wildflower, I have never seen it offered for sale commercially by nurseries affiliated with FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries. As a long-time admirer of this genus, we have dabbled a bit with typical D. carnea var. carnea as well as D. pinnata and D. feayi. I have found the latter two species to be exceptionally difficult to maintain in containers for any period of time and we no longer attempt it. I sow the seed directly into our "scrub" and over the years our plants have prospered and multiplied. D. canea var. carnea, however, has been more forgiving. I suspect that white tassels would also be a good candidate for cultivation - and I hope someone takes it on sometime in the future.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Stinking Camphorweed - Pluchea foetida



Stinking camphorweed (Pluchea foetida) occurs statewide in a variety of freshwater wetland habitats. It also is reported throughout the Southeast Coastal Plain from New Jersey on the east coast to Texas on the west. Though all members of this genus exude a strong camphor-like fragrance when their foliage is crushed, stinking camphorweed is especially aromatic.
This is a short-lived perennial herbaceous species.  It tends to die back to the ground in winter and re-emerges in early spring. By mid-summer, it reaches its mature height of 2-3 feet.  The stout stem is often reddish in color, but this is variable. The specimens photographed above in early September near Pensacola, Florida had very little red in their stems.
Stinking camphorweed shares many characteristics with a Florida endemic, P. longifolia.  Key differences lie in the foliage. Both species have elliptical leaves that clasp the stem (sessile - without a petiole) and with teeth along the margins, but the leaves of stinking camphorweed are a bit narrower and more widely spaced on the stem. In P. longifolia, the leaves nearly overlap each other.
Like other members of this genus, the flowers are arranged in small heads at the end of the stem and lack ray petals. The flowers of stinking camphorweed are white - sometimes with a faint blush of pink. They are not especially showy, but attract the attention of various pollinators. Blooming occurs from mid-summer through early fall.
Stinking camphorweed is commonly encountered throughout Florida in freshwater wetlands and along roadway ditches. It has never been commercially propagated by members of FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries. Camphorweeds normally spread rapidly by underground runners. This habit and this species' understated aesthetics make it unlikely to be offered for home landscapes in the future.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Sweetscent Camphorweed - Pluchea odorata



Sweetscent camphorweed (Pluchea odorata) occurs statewide in Florida in a wide variety of wet sites from tidal marshes to the edges of wet ditches and hardwood hammocks.  This species is also found throughout eastern North America as well as much of the southern U.S. - being absent only from the Great Plains and the Northwest. Camphorweeds, as a genus, sometimes get a bad name for their highly aromatic foliage which smells something like mothballs.  Sweetscent camphorweed is somewhat more pleasing to some observers than the others.
Sweetscent camphorweed is an annual or sometimes a short-lived perennial.  Like other members of this genus, it is a coarse herbaceous species with stiff stems and rough foliage. It reaches its mature height of nearly 6 feet by early summer. The leaves are 2-6 inches in length, elliptical in shape and with a toothed margin.  Unlike a few others in this genus, the leaves have a distinct petiole, nearly 3/4 inch long, that attaches them to the main stem.
Flowering occurs from summer to early fall.  The pink to rosy flowers are borne atop the main stems in flat clusters - cymes.  Only a few remain open at any one time. Despite the lack of ray petals, sweetscent camphorweed is somewhat showy at the peak of blooming.  The large number of blooms attracts pollinators, especially bees.
Camphorweeds are somewhat weedy in their growth habit and tend to spread in the home landscape. Given this trait and the fact that sweetscent camphorweed is also an annual, it has limited use in a home landscape designed around wildflowers. It has not been grown commercially by members of FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries.  It would be easy to propagate, however, from the wispy seed heads in fall. Just make sure you can give it the moisture it requires - either salt or fresh.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Summer Open House - Inventory Reduction Garage Sale - Saturday August 8. 9 am-1 pm

Flyr's nemesis


Halberd-leaved rosemallow - Hibiscus furcellatus



 It is time once again to reduce the number of plants we have growing on the side of our home. The plants we need for our landscape have been set aside. The rest are extra and we'd love to share them with you at our upcoming Open House/Plant Garage Sale.  
Chapman's blazing star
 Email me huegelc55@aol.com for a list of all we have extras of at the moment and/or for directions and questions.  Our hours will be 9 am- 1 pm, Saturday August 8

False Pimpernel - Lindernia grandiflora

False pimpernel (Lindernia grandiflora) is one of Florida's ubiquitous wetland ground covers - occurring in nearly every moist- to wet-soil habitat in the state (except the central and western Panhandle). It is also reported from parts of Georgia. Like the Bacopa spp. and Browne's savory (Clinopodium brownei), it is a mat-forming ground cover that roots periodically at the nodes and creeps across the landscape.
Like Bacopa spp., the thin stems and oval leaves are succulent in appearance. They are opposite each other on the stem and without a petiole (sessile).  This species rarely stands taller than 6-8 inches.  It is an annual, dying in the early winter and recovering in spring from the copious seed left in the seed bank.  The foliage is not aromatic - making it seem nearly identical to water hyssop (Bacopa monnieri).
What makes this species unique are its flowers.  The flowers have three distinct lower petals larger than the two short upper ones.  They are lavender to purple in color and surround a tubular throat that is deeper purple, surrounded by white.markings.  These tiny blooms can occur from spring to fall, are not paired, and have a short stalk attaching them to the stem.  Small pollinators are attracted to them also.
False pimpernel performs best when given wet soil conditions, though it has tolerance of short-term drought. Because it's an annual, it requires open soil to reseed well and is not the best candidate to use on a moist slope or bank for erosion control. It mixes well, however, with other creeping perennials such as Bacopa, and it can be an effective plant for a hanging pot - though annual in nature.  False pimpernel is not currently propagated by any of the nurseries affiliated with FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries.

Browne's Savory - Clinopodium browneii


Browne's savory (Clinopodium brownei) was formerly known as Micromeria brownei and appears under that name in most currently published books. It is found sporadically throughout Florida and a bit north of us from Georgia to Texas.  It also is reported from the Caribbean where it is sometimes called West Indian thyme.  Throughout its range, it is found in freshwater wetlands, from disturbed ditches to the edges of intact forested systems.  It tolerates full sun in wet areas, but will persist in moist locations with less sun. It is a perennial that dies back to the ground in winter.
Browne's savory is a mint.  Its small square stems give this away as does its highly aromatic foliage. I was first made aware of this plant by my late friend and edible plant expert, Dick Duerling, who used to bring it to his talks and extol its virtues as a tea. The fragrance is unique, but quite minty.  The stems creep across the ground in all directions, rooting at the nodes and forming a mass.  The arrow-shaped leaves are opposite each other and have a distinct petiole.  This helps to separate it from other species that have the same growth habit and habitat preference - Bacopa and Lindernia, especially. The leaves also have a wavy edge.
Flowering is most common in the spring and summer. The five-lobed blooms occur in pairs at the leaf nodes. The upper three lobes are rounded while the lower two are more pointed in appearance. Each flower is white and tubular in shape, with distinct purple splotches in the throat. They attract very small pollinators.
Browne's savory is a wetland plant that will not persist if planted in sites that dry out. It is somewhat forgiving of short-term drought if protected from full sun, but it has always failed in my droughty woodland landscape when I fail to water it regularly.  In the right location, however, it makes a very attractive ground cover.  It also makes an interesting plant for a hanging basket - which is where we have ours currently. Just don't forget to water it frequently. This plant is only sporadically sold by nurseries affiliated with FANN - The Florida Association of Native Nurseries.

Lemon Bacopa - Bacopa caroliniana





Lemon bacopa (Bacopa caroliniana) occurs throughout Florida and the states that comprise the Southeast Coastal Plain - Maryland to Texas.  It is not found outside the U.S. as its close cousin, water hyssop (B. monnieri) is. It also is strictly a species of freshwater wetlands.
Lemon bacopa creeps across the ground (or shallow water) forming large mats in locations where its water needs are met. It is tolerant of full to partial sun. The lime green stems and nearly succulent leaves are indistinguishable from water hyssop, but they give off a pungent lemon fragrance when bruised. It tends to die back in the winter months and return again in early spring.
Lemon bacopa has bright lavender to nearly purple flowers with a deep purple throat, sometimes surrounded by a white ring. The flowers are produced over many months from late spring to late fall. Small pollinators use these blooms for nectar.
The flowers and the glossy fragrant foliage make this an extremely attractive landscape plant, but the foliage is not used by White Peacock butterflies. It is also a very difficult plant to maintain in the landscape as it requires more moisture than water hyssop and is very less forgiving of even short-term drought. Though not an easy plant to maintain in the ground (except at the edges of ponds and marshes), it can be effectively provided for in pots and makes a very interesting specimen in a hanging basket. Just keep it well watered. Lemon bacopa is rather widely propagated by commercial sources, but may take a bit of sleuthing to locate it.

Water Hyssop - Bacopa monnieri



Water hyssop (Bacopa monnieri) is an herbaceous perennial that occurs throughout Florida, the rest of the lowest tier of states across the U.S., and into the West Indies and parts of Central America. It is a mat-forming species that creeps across the ground, rooting as it advances from the nodes on its stem.  Ultimately, individual plants form large masses that meet each other and become indistinguishable.  It dies back to the ground each winter, however, and returns again in early spring.
In more tropical parts of its range, it is evergreen. As its name implies, water hyssop is a wetland plant that thrives at the edges of both freshwater and brackish water habitats. If  the ground is moist, it can persist in lawns and the edges of disturbed sites and it will tolerate partial sun as long as its moisture needs are met.  It prefers full sun and plenty of water.
Water hyssop rarely stands above 1-2 inches in height.  The lime green stems and the small oval leaves that are opposite each other are succulent in appearance and make it attractive as a ground cover. The leaves are without fragrance, unlike its close cousin, lemon bacopa (B. caroliniana).
Flowering occurs from spring into mid-fall, except in the more tropical parts of its range where it can bloom year round.  Small white to pinkish tubular blooms are lined in violet and composed of five petals. They attract the attention of small pollinators.
Water hyssop is the preferred larval food for White Peacock butterflies - the butterfly pictured below. They seek it out above other plants, like Phyla nodiflora, that are also sometimes used. We have a nice patch in our landscape that we planted next to the edge of our small landscape pond. The plants grow out into the open water as well as creep along the pond edge. It has never, however, ventured out into the rest of the yard as it is too dry.  Butterfly gardeners can also use this plant in hanging baskets when landscape conditions preclude adding it directly into the ground.  It is somewhat forgiving of very short-term drought, but it should be watered regularly. Because of its value to butterfly gardeners and its attractive foliage, water hyssop is rather widely propagated by commercial sources and should not be too difficult to find.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Matchweed/Fog Fruit - Phyla nodiflora




Matchweed/Fog fruit (Lippia nodiflora) is a creeping perennial herbaceous ground cover found statewide in disturbed and moist sites. It also is found throughout the southern half of the U.S., the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America.  This ubiquitous native wildflower is also found as a lawn weed - especially in lawns that are regularly irrigated. It is evergreen in all but the coldest climates
Matchweed forms dense mats in locations where its habitat needs are met. The thin stems creep in all directions and it roots periodically at the nodes.  Deep green oval leaves are opposite on the stems and toothed at the outer margins.  Because of its growth habit, it rarely stands taller than 2-3 inches above the ground.
Flowering can occur year round in frost-free parts of Florida and summer through fall elsewhere. Small drum heads stand above the foliage and tiny white to pinkish flowers are produced regularly in small numbers, in procession from the base to the top of the heads for many weeks.  The blooms are attractive, though quite small. Showiness is accentuated when this plant occurs in mass.
The flowers are excellent nectar sources for small butterflies and bees. The foliage serves as the larval food for Common Buckeyes, White Peacocks, and Phaon Crescents (pictured above).  Because of this, it is often incorporated into butterfly gardens by those seeking to provide for these beautiful butterflies.
Matchweed is widely available from commercial sources. It can be a valuable addition to the landscape, but needs more moisture than some landscapes can effectively provide.  It also can be a bit of a nuisance if the intent is to mix it with a wide variety of other wildflowers. It works best in areas where it can form a monoculture, or along the edges of drainage ditches and in swales. I have seen it make a very attractive (and ecologically valuable) ground cover in lieu of turf, but in drier locations it will not perform well and can be a disappointment.

Southern Fogfruit - Phyla stoechadifolia



Southern fogfruit (Phyla stoechadifolia)  is a thin evergreen perennial shrub native to Miami-Dade and Broward Counties in Florida, but also in the West Indies, Mexico, Central America, and northern South America outside the U.S.  It is resident to freshwater wetlands and to other poorly drained open habitats - often on soils over limestone. It is listed as a state endangered species.
Unlike its more common cousins, southern fogfruit forms thin woody stems that can reach 2 feet tall. The foliage is distinctive.  The deeply veined linear leaves are sharply toothed along the margins and opposite each other along the stem. They are found along the length of the stem and are aromatic.  In some cultures, a tea is made from them.
The conical flower heads are produced year round.  Like its cousins, tiny white to pinkish blooms emerge from them, a few at a time, over many days. These flowers attract small butterflies such as blues and hairstreaks as well as very small bees.  Blooming begins near the base of the heads and proceeds to the top.
Southern fogfruit, like its more common cousin, P. nodiflora, serves as a larval food for Common Buckeye and Phaon Crescent butterflies.  As such, it makes an interesting and useful addition to a butterfly garden, but it is not currently available from commercial sources affiliated with FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries.  The plant photographed above is at our home in Pinellas County and was a gift from Michael Manna on a recent visit I made to Palm Beach County.  I do not have much personal experience with it in a home landscape to date, but will add to this post as I learn more about its adaptability.

Blodgett's Ironweed - Vernonia blodgettii



Blodgett's ironweed (Vernonia blodgettii) is our South Florida member of this much beloved genus. It is found primarily in the southern one-third of the peninsula, from Sarasota and Martin Counties south through the Florida Keys, though it also has been reported from Indian River and Orange Counties north of this line.  It is not an endemic, however, as it also occurs in the northern Bahamas.  In this region it is found in low pine flatwoods and in the upper edges of open marshes.  It is not classified as a wetland plant, but does not occur in places that do not become wet during the summer.
This is a rather diminutive species compared to most other ironweeds (all, except stemless ironweed, V. acaulis) and rarely stands taller than about 2 feet.  It is an herbaceous perennial that dies to the ground each winter. My friend, Roger Hammer, in his book Everglades Wildflowers intimates that it is evergreen in extreme south Florida, but in Pinellas County it disappears each winter regardless of temperature. The stems are smooth, the leaves are sessile along the stem, and they are linear to lanceolate in shape.
Flowering occurs mostly in the summer and early fall.  The thin flower stalk holds less than a dozen heads of rich lavender blooms that resemble others in this genus. Like all ironweeds, they are irresistible to pollinating insects and, thus, make excellent additions to a butterfly/bee garden.
Blodgett's ironweed is only occasionally offered for sale by commercial sources.  We have done so from time to time at Hawthorn Hill, and may offer it again in 2016.  Though it is a wonderful wildflower, it does not persist in a typical landscape setting unless it receives ample water during the hot summer months. If you can provide that, use it near the front of the planting bed so it won't get lost among taller species.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Edison's St. John's-wort - Hypericum edisonianum


Edison's St. John's-wort (Hypericum edisonianum) is a very rare endemic, listed as a state endangered species, and found principally in seasonably wet marsh edges within the Lake Wales Ridge. It also has been reported in Collier County.
This is an erect woody species that forms a multi-branched evergreen shrub up to 5 feet tall.  Each stem is rather thin, and the dark, silvery black bark is smooth and tight - not reddish and flaky like so many other tall St. John's-worts in Florida.  The thickened oval blue-green leaves are clustered at the ends of the stems. The upper surface is waxy in appearance and each leaf is held at a 45-degree angle from the stem.
The 4-petal flowers are canary yellow and produced mostly in the summer. The plants above were photographed at Archbold Biological Station in late June.  Like other members of this genus, the blooms are showy and attract a variety of pollinators - mostly bees. Pollinated flowers ripen to dark brown capsules.
Edison's St. John's-wort has only rarely been offered for sale commercially during my 25 years living in Florida. It's large size and narrow habitat requirements limit its use in the home landscape. Other, more common species would make better landscape choices in nearly every situation except possible restoration projects within its natural geographic range. This is simply an interesting and beautiful wildflower to be admired when encountered.

Virginia Marsh St.John's-wort - Triadenum virginicum



Virginia marsh St. John's-wort (Triadenum virginicum) is closely related to the Hypericum St. John's-worts, and differs from them mostly by having pinkish instead of yellow flowers.  This species is the most common of the three natives found in Florida and occurs in all but the most southern counties in the peninsula.  Virginia marsh St. John's-wort also occurs throughout the eastern half of North America, west to Texas and north to Quebec and Ontario.  It is found in wet-soil habitats - marshes, lake edges, and the edges of forested wetlands.
This is a perennial herb with rather weak herbaceous stems that rarely stand taller than 24 inches. The oval-shaped leaves clasp the stem and are opposite each other.  The outer margins and the deeply incised veins are outlined in red.  Multiple stems arise from the underground rhizome and it often forms small colonies.
Flowering occurs in summer.  The five-petal blooms are pinkish, lined with deeper pink. They occur at the tips of the various stems in cymes.  Each flower remains open for just a few days, but blooming occurs for several weeks as the buds mature and open.  Like other members of the St. John's-wort family, they are attractive to bees. The pollinated flowers ripen into dark capsules in the fall
Look for this plant in wet soils throughout most of Florida. It is not available from commercial sources at this time and is not especially adaptable to most landscape settings. In most cases, it would be advisable to use a Hypericum spp. in place of it.