Hypoxis sessilis L.

Locations ofHypoxis sessilis L. in Virginia

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Botanical Name
Hypoxis sessilis L.
Common Name
Glossy-seed Yellow Stargrass
Hypoxis longii Fernald
Flora of Virginia Name/Status
Hypoxis sessilis L.
Hypoxis longii was described from material collected in what is now in the City of Virginia Beach from "damp peaty or sandy depressions back of dunes" (Fernald 1935). The population was found to have only cleistogamous flowers during Fernald's initial collecting trip (made in August) and a subsequent mid-June trip. Morphological characteristics of these plants were compared with those of open-flowered H. sessilis and used by Fernald to describe H. longii. The species was considered extremely rare until the publication by Taylor and Taylor (1981) discussing populations matching this description found in sandy Pinus taeda-dominated habitats in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas. Herndon (1988), while studying the ecology and systematics of H. sessilis and H. wrightii in South Florida, pointed out that both species showed an initial burst of showy, chasmogamous flowering, quickly followed by the production of cleistogamous flowers. They did not provide measurements of the cleistogamous plants to compare with Fernald's published description, but they certainly implied that H. longii might be nothing more than the inevitable cleistogamous phase of H. sessilis. In their words: "Hypoxis longii was described by Fernald (1935) under the assumption that Hypoxis sessilis always bore chasmogamous flowers. The documentation of both chasmogamous and cleistogamous flowers within a single population and on individuals of H. sessilis shows this assumption to be untenable." A close look at cleistogamous material is needed.
Now considered a form of H. sessilis, the Virginia population is the northernmost of several scattered disjunctions in the Mid-Atlantic states, well removed from the species' principal range in the Gulf Coastal states.
Interdune swales. Rare, Coastal Plain; known historically from the City of Virginia Beach.
Native Status

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