American stickseed

(Hackelia deflexa var. americana)

Conservation Status
American stickseed
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N5? - Secure

SNA - Unrankable

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
 
Description
 
 

American stickseed is a 15 to 47 tall, erect, lanky, biennial forb that rises usually on a solitary stem from a short taproot. In its first year it appears as a rosette of basal leaves. In the second year is sends up a flowering stem.

The stems are erect, slender, and rough to the touch. They are moderately covered with short, fine hairs. The hairs above the midpoint are spreading or point upward, those below the midpoint point downward. They have a few to many branches above the middle. The branches are perpendicular to the stem.

The lowest stem leaves are alternate, elliptic to egg-shaped, 2 to 12 long, and ¾ to 4 wide. They are on narrowly winged, up to 2 long leaf stalks. They are abruptly narrowed at the base and taper to a sharp point at the tip with straight sides along the tip. There is a single prominent midvein and 3 to 7 noticeable pairs of lateral veins. The upper surface is rough to the touch and moderately covered with minute, stiff hairs. The lower surface is moderately covered with minute, fine hairs and, especially along the veins, longer hairs. The margins are untoothed. Lower stem leaves just above the lowest ones are similar but half as long. Stem leaves become progressively smaller, narrower, and shorter stalked as they ascend the stem. Upper stem leaves are narrowly lance-shaped and stalkless. Basal leaves are similar to lower stem leaves but are smaller. They are usually withered or absent by flowering time.

The inflorescence is an unbranched array (raceme) of many small flowers. The racemes usually occur in pairs at the ends of the branches, sometimes on short branches from leaf axils. They are short and closely spaced when they first appear, 2 to 6 long, widely spaced, and usually coiled like a scorpion’s tail when mature. The axis of the raceme is covered with spreading to ascending hairs. The flowers are on 1 32 to long stalks (peduncles). The flowers near the base of the raceme are subtended by lance-shaped to linear lance-shaped, leaf-like appendages (bracts). The bracts become progressively smaller as they ascend the stem, and disappear midway through the raceme.

Each flower is 1 16to in diameter. There are 5 sepals, 5 petals, 5 stamens, and 1 style. The sepals are green and covered with bristly hairs. They are fused at the base into a very short calyx tube, then separated into 5 lance-shaped, 1 32to 1 16 long lobes. The lobes are much longer than the tube. The petals are white (rarely pale blue). They are fused at the base into a 1 32to 1 16 long corolla tube, then separated into 5 rounded, 1 32long lobes. In the throat of the trumpet shaped corolla there are 5 white scale-like appendages. The stamens have very short filaments and do not extend beyond the corolla tube. The style does not extend beyond the corolla tube.

The fruit is a tight cluster of 4 nutlets. Together, the cluster of nutlets is globe-shaped, 1 16 to long. The individual nutlet has a fringe of long, barbed bristles on the margins but no bristles, rarely 1 to 3 short bristles, on the upper (dorsal) surface. It is green at first, turning brown when ripe. At fruiting time the peduncles become slightly longer and droop downward; and the calyx persists, the lobes elongating to 1 16 to long. The seeds spread by clinging to the fur of passing animals and the legs and socks of passing hikers.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

15 to 47

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

White

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
  Virginia stickseed (Hackelia virginiana) individual nutlet has bristles around the margins and 10 to 25 bristles on the dorsal surface.  
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Moist. Woods, thickets. Partial sun to medium shade.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

July to September

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.

 
  2/3/2013      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (dicots)  
  Superorder Asteranae  
 

Order

Boraginales  
 

Family

Boraginaceae (borage)  
  Subfamily Cynoglossoideae  
  Tribe Eritrichiinae  
 

Genus

Hackelia (stickseed)  
  Species Hackelia deflexa (northern stickseed)  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

 

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Hackelia americana

Lappula americana

Lappula deflexa

Hackelia deflexa ssp. americana

Lappula deflexa ssp. americana

Lappula deflexa var. americana

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

American stickseed

nodding stickseed

northern stickseed

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Axil

The upper angle where a branch, stem, leaf stalk, or vein diverges.

 

Bract

Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk, flower cluster, or inflorescence.

 

Calyx

The group of outer floral leaves (sepals) below the petals, occasionally forming a tube.

 

Corolla

A collective name for all of the petals of a flower.

 

Filament

On plants: The thread-like stalk of a stamen which supports the anther. On Lepidoptera: One of a pair of long, thin, fleshy extensions extending from the thorax, and sometimes also from the abdomen, of a caterpillar.

 

Peduncle

In angiosperms, the stalk of a single flower or a flower cluster; in club mosses, the stalk of a strobilus or a group of strobili.

 

Raceme

An unbranched, elongated inflorescence with stalked flowers. The flowers mature from the bottom up.

 

Wing

A thin, flat, membranous, usually transparent appendage on the margin of a structure.

       
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Plant

  American stickseed   American stickseed
       
  American stickseed    
       

Inflorescence

  American stickseed    
       

Leaves

  American stickseed    
       

Infructescence

  American stickseed   American stickseed
       
  American stickseed    
       

Fruit

  American stickseed    
       
       

 

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