Monday, October 19, 2015

Water Hoarhound - Lycopus rubellus

Water hoarhound (Lycopus rubellus) is one of four hoarhounds/bugleweeds native to Florida, and the only one widely found south of the Panhandle. It is an herbaceous perennial that dies back to the ground in winter and reemerges in the spring. As their common name suggests, all four species are obligate wetland species - resident to freshwater swamps, marshes, bogs, and wet shorelines.
Water hoarhound eventually reaches a mature height of about 3 feet. It produces many single stems off its spreading system of underground rhizomes, so when you find it, it normally is present in clusters or in mass depending on the openness of the habitat surrounding it.  As this is a mint, the stem is square. It also is slightly "hairy" and a deep maroon red in color. The leaves are opposite on the stem, normally sessile (without a petiole), and elliptical in shape. The edges have distinctive teeth.
Blooming occurs from summer into late fall. The small white flowers are produced in the leaf axils in clusters. Individual blooms last just a few days, but each cluster produces more over a several month period. Each bloom is about 1/4 inch long and somewhat tubular; the five petals are mostly fused.  The anthers are purple and the throat has several tiny purplish dots, making the flowers appear somewhat pinkish from a distance. They are pollinated by small bees and butterflies.
Water hoarhound can be commonly encountered in the wet areas of Florida, but overlooked when not in bloom. It is not currently being propagated and is unlikely to be in the future as more-showy wetland species are the ones in demand for landscape purposes.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please let me know if this site and the various postings have been useful to you.