Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fringeleaf Wild Petunia (Ruellia humulis)?

April 21st – May 4th. In the late afternoon of April 21st, we spotted a couple of short plants with lavender colored flowers blooming along Dry Branch Road in the Ogeechee Wildlife Management Area in Hancock County on April 21st.

April 21st. The plant is single stemmed. The stem is hairy with opposite leaves also covered with fine hairs, and blooms that open from the bottom of the stem to the top

April 21st. A buds developing in the axis between leaves and stem

April 21st. Developing buds near the base of the plant

May 4th. Flowers near the top of the plant.

Open flowers from different angles showing the stamen and anthers. In contrast to available photographs, the central lower lobes of the flowers had strong patches of purple rather than veining.

A odd plant that we saw on April 21st. This appears to be a non-pigmented version of the lavender flowers. We didn’t see more of these variants.

I believe these plants are Ruellia humilis but would be happy for any correction to this identification

Ruellia humilis – known by the common names Fringeleaf wild petunia, Hairy Wild Petunia, Low Wild Petunia - is native to the eastern United States with the exception of the New England states and South Carolina. Although the USDA Plants Database U.S. map indicates that this species occurs in Georgia, there is no county distribution map indicating that there is no official documentation of this plant in Georgia. Similarly the University of North Carolina Herbarium In Georgia, it’s found in many counties throughout the state but more frequently in north Georgia and in southern counties. Alan Cressler has documented this plant at he Savannah Rapids Park in Columbia County, Georgia. We haven’t seen it anywhere other than Hancock County. This plant tends to blend into its surroundings so it is not surprising that it hasn’t bee reported frequently.

Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification resources:
- Southeastern Flora: Ruellia humilis

- Alan Cressler: Ruellia humilis

- Missouri Plants:
Ruellia humilis
- Vanderbilt University College of Arts and Sciences: Ruellia humilis (Fringeleaf Wild Petunia)

- Oklahoma University Biological Survey: Ruellia humilis


- United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Ruellia humilis
(Fringeleaf Wild Petunia)
- University of North Carolina Herbarium: Ruellia humilis

No comments: