Vascular Plants — Page 3

PAGE 1 — Araceae • Bromeliaceae • Commelinaceae • Cyperaceae • Iridaceae • Lemnaceae • Liliaceae • Orchidaceae • Acanthaceae • Apocynaceae
PAGE 2 — Asteraceae • Berberidaceae • Campanulaceae • Fabaceae
PAGE 3 — Geraniaceae • Lamiaceae • Malvaceae • Oxalidaceae • Plantaginaceae • Phytolaccaceae • Polygonaceae • Rosaceae • Rubiaceae • Solanaceae • Saururaceae • Verbenaceae • Violaceae
 

Family Geraniaceae

Geranium

Carolina modiola - Modiola caroliniana

It is a low creeping perennial with reddish-orange flowers with a slender, hairy stalk. It blooms between February – June. Habitat includes lawns, gardens, disturbed sites, and wet areas. The leaves are up to 3 inches in length, delta to kidney shaped, and toothed.
 

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Family Lamiaceae

 

Heal All - Prunella vulgaris

Terminal white to pink or purple flower cluster in late spring. Like others in the mint family, it has opposite leaves and square stems. Medical research has shown that the plant can be used for antibiotic, hypotensive, antimutagenic, antitumor, and diuretic purposes. Rich in antioxidants. Grows along the levee.

 

Lyre-leaf Sage - Salvia lyrata

Perennial leaves are in a whorl on the ground and a flower spike with 3-10 lavender-blue flowers on a square stem blooms in spring. Named for its lobed dandelion-like leaves, which supposedly resemble a lyre instrument. Salvias are visited by hummingbirds and seeds are sometimes eaten by songbirds. Folk remedy for cancer and warts.

 

Tuberous Hedge-Nettle - Stachys floridana

Perennial with lavender flowers in spring. Returns each year from its white, wormlike 4-6 inch tubers. Commonly found in gardens. The foliage has an unusual pickle smell.

Wood Sage

Wood Sage - Teucrium canadense

3-4 foot perennial with terminal flower cluster in summer. Flowers are white with pink lines with a 3-lobed lower petal. Also known as "American Germander." Grows sparsely throughout the park. Although leaf tea of this species has been traditionally used medicinally, some species of Teucrium have been proven to be extremely toxic to the liver.

 

 

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Family Malvaceae

Swamp Rose-mallow - Hibiscus moscheutos

Growing up to 6 feet tall, this striking plant has unlobed serrate leaves. It makes a large white hibiscus-like flower with a red center in the summer. Found sometimes in the flood plain area of the park. Used as a demulcent and emollient for dysentery as well as lung and urinary problems.

Sida

Sida - Sida rhombifolia

Easily identified by its small yellowish-white flowers with a yellow center. Leaves are roughly diamond-shaped, with serrate margins along half of the leaf. Found along the canal in the flood plain.

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Family Oxalidaceae

 

Violet Wood Sorrel - Oxalis violacea

Pinkish purple flowers with clover-like leaves up to 12 inches grow in a variety of locations including lawns. Both flowers and leaves close up at night. Spring and fall blooms may be nibbled or eaten on salads. They have a yummy sour taste from oxalic acid, which may be poisonous if eaten in very excessive amounts. Originally introduced from South America. Small songbirds like sparrows eat the seeds, and doves eat the seeds, leaves, and bulbs.

 

Common Yellow Wood Sorrel - Oxalis stricta

3 small heart-shaped leaflets per leaf. Tiny yellow 5-petalled flowers bloom off and on from March until frost. Sour leaves were once used for nausea, mouth sores, and sore throats, but large doses may cause oxalate poisoning.

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Family Plantaginaceae

Common Plantain

Common Plantain - Plantago major

Oval-shaped rosette of leaves with base at ground.

 

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Family Phytolaccaceae

Pokeweed

Pokeweed - Phytolacca americana

Pokeweed is an herbaceous perennial plant that grows up to 8 feet in height. It is native to the eastern United States. It has simple leaves and the stems can be green or purple. The flowers are green or white with 4-5 sepals and no petals, and have very dark purplish black berries. Songbirds, including the northern mockingbird, northern cardinal, and brown thrasher, will feed on the berries dispersing the seeds. The berries are toxic to many other species including humans. It is found growing in pastures, woodland openings, and edge habitats.

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Family Polygonaceae

 

Virginia knot-weed - Polygonum virginianum

Slender, erect racemes sparsely flowered with tiny white summer/fall blooms. Throughout the floodplain area. Knotweeds are important to songbirds. Mourning doves, blackbirds, finches, and sparrows all eat the seeds, as well as some mammals.

Curlydock

Curlydock - Rumex crispus

Dense clusters of tiny green flowers grow on spikes up to four feet tall. Flowers turn to a reddish brown color with black seeds that stay on the erect spike, creating a striking-looking plant. Basal leaves have very wavy margins. Dried roots are used as a "blood purifier," to treat skin diseases, liver ailments, sore throats, and enlarged lymph glands. May relieve or cause diarrhea, depending on harvest time and dosage. Rabbits eat the leaves, and some songbirds eat the seeds, including red-winged blackbirds and sparrows. People sometimes gather the leaves for greens. Found along the levee at the Acadiana Nature Station.

Smartweed

Smartweed - Polygonum hydropiperoides

It is a perennial herb that grows up to 3ft tall. Preferred habitat is moist and wet. The leaves are alternate, lance-shaped, and about 4in long. The pinkish flowers are on spikes at the end of stems and about 3 millimeters wide. Flowers begin as greenish then turn whitish or light pink in color as they mature. The seeds are consumed by small birds and mammals.

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Family Rosaceae

Wild Strawberry

Wild Strawberry - Fragaria virginiana

A parent of hybrid garden strawberries. 3 leaflets per leaf with serrate margins. Small white flowers with yellow centers in spring precede ½-inch red fruit. We know from historical records from the Civil War that it was once more abundant than it is today. Songbirds such as sparrows, crows, finches, grosbeaks, brown thrashers, towhees, and especially cedar waxwings and robins eat the fruit. Rabbits, possums, skunks, mice and squirrels eat the leaves as well as the fruit. American Indians and settlers both used the plant medicinally to treat sore throats, digestive problems, to treat scurvy, and as a nerve tonic.

 

Indian Strawberry - Duchesnea indica

It is an herbaceous, perennial plant. The leaves are trifoliate, dark green, and the flowers are yellow. They flower in mid spring and throughout the growing season. The aggregate fruits are white or red and each containing a single seed. The fruit is edible but not flavorful. Preferred habitat is shady places in the woods.

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Family Rubiaceae

 

Bedstraw - Galium aparine

Weak-stemmed plant with hooked bristles on stem and leaves to grab animals or clothing and break off from the ground. Very small (1/8") spring-blooming white flowers on stalks arise from the axils of whorled leaves. There are 4 flower petals and each whorl has 6-8 leaves. Also called "cleavers" because of its clinging habit. Medical research shows that extracts are hypotensive (lower blood pressure) and contain asperuloside, which is anti-inflammatory. May cause slight skin irritation upon contact.

Buttonbush

Buttonbush - Cephalanthus occidentalis

A shrub with opposite or whorled dark green leaves. White summer-blooming flowers are clusters of 1-2"diameter globes with the long stamens protruding like pins from a pincushion. Prefers very wet locations. Although formerly used as a diuretic, astringent, emitic, and pain reliever, it has caused poisoning in some grazing animals. Ducks, especially, mallards and wood ducks, eat the seeds. Flowers are an excellent source of nectar for butterflies and other insects. Because of its attractive foliage and flowers, it is sometimes planted as an ornamental.

Buttonweed

Buttonweed - Diodia virginiana

A creeping perennial herb rooting at the leaf nodes. 2 or 3 small, 4-petalled, summer-blooming, faintly hairy, white flowers are found in the axil of each leaf. A very abundant weed in the Southeast.

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Family Solanaceae

Horse-nettle - Solanum carolinense

Star-shaped white to purple 5-petalled flowers bloom in summer on 2-foot perennial plants with thorns along stems and underside of leaves. Fruits look like little yellow tomatoes, and tomatoes are in the nightshade family as well, but horse-nettle fruit is poisonous if consumed. Many birds eat the fruit, including wood ducks.

 

Black Nightshade - Solanum nigrum

Small flowers with protruding yellow stamens and backward-curving petals bloom on 2-foot perennial herb with triangular leaves. Similarly to horse- nettle, many songbirds and small mammals consume the seeds. Some varieties contain steroids called solanine, which can cause death. Violently toxic.

Ground-cherry - Physalis heterophylla or angulata

It is a perennial plant reaching a height up to 20in. The leaves are alternate 2–4 in long and the flowers are simple inflorescences. The petals are yellow with purple highlights. The flowers face downwards when open. The fruit is edible and has a slightly bitter taste. The rest of the plant is poisonous. Preferred habitats include dry prairies, sandy or rocky soils, and roadsides.

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Family Saururaceae

 

Lizard's Tail - Saururus cernuus

A colony-forming perennial herb to 3 feet tall with heart-shaped leaves. Dense spikes of white flowers curl over at the end, giving the plant its name. Blooms from April to July in moist places. Since it contains some novel compounds with sedative affects, its medicinal properties are being heavily researched. American Indians used it for a wash for general pain or rheumatism for its anti-inflammatory affect. Enjoyed by wood ducks.

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Family Verbenaceae

 

Verbena - Verbena brasiliensis

One of the most common wildflowers along the levee in the summer at the Acadiana Nature Park. Terminal clusters of tiny bluish purple flowers atop a tall herb with square stems and opposite leaves. Seeds are oblong nutlets eaten by songbirds such as sparrows, cardinals, and buntings.

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Family Violaceae

 

Bayou Violet - Viola langloisii

Single triangular leaves are common in the floodplain area throughout the year. In spring, a bluish-purple flower grows at each leaf. 2 upper petals, 2 drooping side petals, and a lower petal which provides a landing strip for insects.

 

Field-Pansy - Viola rafinesquii

Small pink to purple flowers have dark purple veins in the lower petals. Can be spotted in mowed grass on the prairie terrace area of Acadiana Nature Park. Doves and juncos, as well as other songbirds, eat the seeds, and small butterflies use the nectar. Humans use it as an emetic or a laxative or as a syrup made from the flowers to treat consumption. 

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