General Landscape Uses:
Primarily recommended for natural landscapes and habitat restorations. Also butterfly gardens.
Ecological Restoration Notes: A somewhat rare understory herb in pine rocklands.
Grown by enthusiasts.
Description: Small to medium herb with erect or sprawling stems and oblong leaves.
Dimensions: About 6-24 inches in height. Taller than broad, but then falling over and spreading.
Growth Rate: Moderate.
Eastern and central United States west to Texas and south to central Florida; disjunct in Miami-Dade County and the Monroe County Keys. In the Monroe County Keys, disjunct from Miami-Dade County to the pine rocklands of Big Pine Key, where very rare.
Soils: Moist, well-drained limestone soils, without humus.
Nutritional Requirements: Low; it grows in nutrient poor soils.
Salt Water Tolerance: Low; does not tolerate flooding by salt or brackish water.
Salt Wind Tolerance: Moderate; grows near salt water, but is protected from direct salt spray by other vegetation.
Drought Tolerance: High; does not require any supplemental water once established.
Light Requirements: Full sun.
Flower Color: Green with purple hoods.
Flower Characteristics: Showy, about 1/2" wide.
Flowering Season: Winter-summer; peak spring.
Fruit: Pod (follicle) with wind dispersed seeds, wide at the base and tapering toward the tip.
Wildlife and Ecology: Larval host plant for monarch (Danaus plexippus) and queen (Danaus gilippus) butterflies; possible larval host for soldier (Danaus eresimus) butterflies. Nectar plant for monarch butterflies.