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Lewis' heartleaf--habitus

Image of Heartleaf

Description:

Hexastylis lewisii (Fernald) Blomquist & Oosting. These plants were rescued from as small population next to a highway in southern Durham, NC (lower Piedmont), and kept in my garden for several years. This allowed me to observe the blooming closely, which can be tough in this group, as the flowers are on the ground, often under leaf litter. This plant is uncommon to rare, but can be found in decent numbers at some sites in the Piedmont and inner Coastal Plain. In this area, it can be recognized by the rounded, variegated leaves and the habit of growing in long, linear patches, i.e., it is rhizomatous. The similar Hexastylis minor and Hexastylis virginica have variegated leaves but do not form these long rhizomes--they occur in compact clumps. According to Radford et al., Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas, these would be the three species with variegated leaves possible in this area.

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