Gratiola virginiana L. var. aestuariorum Pennell

Locations ofGratiola virginiana L. var. aestuariorum Pennell in Virginia

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Botanical Name
Gratiola virginiana L. var. aestuariorum Pennell
Common Name
Estuarine Hedge-hyssop
Flora of Virginia Name/Status
Not in Flora of Virginia (mentioned in Comments under G. virginiana)
In recent decades, this variety of Gratiola virginiana has been widely dismissed as a stunted aquatic form. We are tentatively recognizing it, however, because of the following factors: 1) it does not appear to occur in habitats significantly more "aquatic" or flooded than those of G. virginiana var. virginiana; 2) Virginia material is morphologically consistent within and across populations, and matches herbarium material from other states; and 3) with a very limited global range, it may constitute a taxon of some conservation concern and is worthy of further study. Gratiola virginiana var. aestuariorum appears to be endemic to tidal and near-tidal wetlands in the Mid-Atlantic region from New Jersey to southern Virginia. It is distinguished from var. virginiana by having a shorter stature; proportionally broader, more rounded leaves; and flowers (often cleistogamous) and fruits that are essentially sessile.
Freshwater tidal marshes, impoundment shores, bottomland sloughs, and sluggish channels in seepage swamps; most known occurrences are in or close to estuarine wetlands. Status uncertain, as the variety has not generally been recognized in Virginia floristic studies since those of Fernald in the 1930's and 1940's.
Native Status

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