Aunt Lucy

(Ellisia nyctelea)

Conservation Status
Aunt Lucy
 
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N5? - Secure

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
Wetland Indicator Status
     
  Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland

     
  Midwest

FAC - Facultative

     
  Northcentral & Northeast

FAC - Facultative

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Aunt Lucy is a 6 to 18 tall, erect, annual forb that rises on multiple stems from a large, fleshy taproot.

The stems are weak, angled, and usually branched. They are erect or recline on the ground with only the tip ascending. They are fleshy, hollow, pale green to pale purple, and covered with a whitish, waxy bloom (glaucous). They are sparsely covered with straight, stiff, appressed hairs and sometimes also have some stiff, bristly hairs.

The lower leaves are opposite and the upper leaves are alternate. The leaf blades oblong to egg-shaped in outline, are up to 2 long, and up to 2 wide. They are deeply cut into a terminal lobe and 3 to 6 pairs of lateral lobes (pinnatifid). They are on stout, flattened, up to ¾ long leaf stalks that have bristly hairs near the base. The lobes are narrow and inversely lance-shaped. They may be opposite or alternate. They are untoothed or have a few large teeth or lobes. The main axis of the leaf blade (rachis) is winged. The upper and lower surfaces are hairy.

The inflorescence is a solitary flower rising on a short stalk from a leaf axil or from the stem opposite a leaf. The flower stalk elongates to about 2 in fruit.

The flowers are about ¼ in diameter. There are 5 green sepals, 5 white to pale blue petals, 5 stamens with brown anthers, and a single style. The sepals are united at the base into a short calyx tube then separated into 5 spreading, hairy, lance-shaped, pointed, about 5 16 long and wide lobes. The sepals are as long or longer than the corolla. The petals are united at the base for over half of their length into a long corolla tube then separated into 5 spreading, rounded lobes. They often have tiny purple specks. The stamens do not project beyond the corolla tube. The style is split at the tip into two stigmas.

The fruit is a green, fleshy, hairy, drooping, spherical, 3 16 to ¼ in diameter capsule. It is subtended by the persistent calyx with 5 enlarged, widely spread lobes. The fruit contains 4 seeds.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

6 to 18

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

White to pale blue

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Dry to moist. Deciduous woodlands, thickets, flood plains, stream banks, disturbed sites. Partial sun or light shade.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

May to June

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

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

 
  1/6/2014      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Locally 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

Hydrophyllaceae (waterleaf)  
  Subfamily Hydrophylloideae  
 

Genus

Ellisi  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

 

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Ellisia ambigua

Ellisia nyctelea var. coloradensis

Ipomoea nyctelea

Nyctelea nyctelea

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

Aunt Lucy

ellisia

false babyblueeyes

waterpod

water-pod

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Axil

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

 

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.

 

Glaucous

Pale green or bluish gray due to a whitish, powdery or waxy film, as on a plum or a grape.

 

Pinnatifid

Deeply cut, more than half way to the midrib but not to the midrib, into lobes that are spaced out along the midrib; the lobes do not form separate leaflets.

 

Rachis

The main axis of a compound leaf, appearing as an extension of the leaf stalk; the main axis of an inflorescence.

 

Wing

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

       
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Habitat

  Aunt Lucy    
       

Plant

  Aunt Lucy   Aunt Lucy
       

Leaves

  Aunt Lucy    
       

Fruit

  Aunt Lucy    
       
       

 

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