Thursday, June 11, 2020

Water Dropwort - Tiedemannia filiformis



Formerly know as Oxypolis filiformis, water dropwort (Tiedemannia filiformis) is a perennial member of the carrot family and found statewide in wetland habitats. It also has been documented in much of the Southeastern Coastal Plain from Texas to North Carolina. This is classified as an obligate wetland plant and requires wet soils and relatively sunny locations.
Water dropwort is evergreen in areas without deep freezes. The long linear leaves are almost succulent. Each of these needle-like leaves are 2-3 feet in length on mature plants. They form a dense basal rosette.
Flower stalks emerge from these rosettes in summer and eventually stand 4-5 feet tall by early fall. Water dropwort has a decided blooming season that lasts several weeks in September/October. Like other members of this family, the white flowers are held in an umbel arrangement. Each flower is 1/8-1/4 inch in width, but the umbels are at least 1-2 feet across and composed of a great many flowers. At this time, the plant is rather showy and the blooms attract the attention of a great many small pollinators. When in bloom, it also attracts the attention of eastern black swallowtail butterflies. Though this plant is essentially shunned at other times of the year, a blooming water dropwort is the preferred host plant of this beautiful butterfly. The caterpillars begin only on the flowers, but move on to the foliage after they gain some maturity.
Water dropwort is an essential addition to a wetland butterfly garden and I add it routinely to the ones I work with. Individual plants gain girth over the years and become quite robust with age. They also reseed routinely. Regrettably, it is not routinely propagated by nurseries affiliated with FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries. I grow it here at Hawthorn Hill, however. Give it a sunny location that stays moist to wet and wait for the caterpillars in fall.

8 comments:

  1. It is a cool plant. I am growing some.

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  2. I just purchased this plant and am excited to plant it around my pond. The black swallowtail butterflies are my favorites of the many butterfly varieties that inhabit my yard.

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  3. I would like to plant this as a border in an area that gets all the water from my gutter downspouts. It would separate my yard from my neighbor's grass. Is this something that would be difficult to remove when it reseeds in the grass? I don't want to give the neighbors reasons to use weed & feed. I don't mind picking them out of the grass as needed, as long as they are easy to pull or can blend in when mowed.

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    1. In my opinion, this would be a difficult plant to keep thriving in an area that is only wet after a rain. In nature, it is often in flooded areas with 2-6 inches of water over the year. Mine are not grown that wet, but they are in an area with a heavy pond liner buried ~2 feet below the so the soil cannot drain after a rain and it stays much wetter. If you wish to try it anyway, it is a carrot family plant - with a carrot type root. Not to difficult to pull - especially when young.

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  4. Can it be planted in a large urn planter?

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    1. Easily, if you can keep it wet. I would out the pot in a deep saucer and keep it watered from beneath.

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  5. I just bought one of these plants as I was told my Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillars would eat it. I was out of food and no nursery I trust had the usual parsely, etc. I have two still int he caterpillar stage and they are not eating it. If I keep it for future use I guess I'd have to keep it in a saucer as I don't have a wet area. How big a pot would I need? Is it worthwhile to keep this plant if one does not havve a wet area? What conditions would it need. I don't know what to do for food for my two babies. Yikes!

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    1. in my experience, this plant is not used until it blooms in the fall. Mine get eaten to the ground every year, but only when it starts to flower in the fall.

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