early figwort

(Scrophularia lanceolata)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

early figwort

NatureServe

N5? - Secure

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Wetland
Indicator
Status

Great Plains

FAC - Facultative

Midwest

FACU - Facultative upland

Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland

Nativity

Native

Occurrence

Common

Habitat

Woodland edges and openings, meadows, fields, roadsides, fencerows. Rocky areas. Light shade to partial sun.

Flowering

May to August

     
Flower Color

Reddish brown

     
Height

36 to 78

     

Identification

This is a 36 to 78 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises on a cluster of stems from a taproot. It is a large, conspicuous plant with small, inconspicuous flowers.

The stems are erect, usually unbranched, and square, with flat or slightly grooved sides between the angles. They are slightly hairy when young, becoming hairless below the inflorescence with age. It is sticky and sparsely to moderately covered with minute glands within the inflorescence.

The leaves are opposite and on to 1¼ long leaf stalks (petioles). The petiole is rarely one-third as long as the leaf blade. They are lance-shaped to egg-shaped, 3 to 8 long, and 1 to 3 wide, becoming somewhat smaller as they ascend the stem. The leaf blade may be heart-shaped, broadly rounded, wedge-shaped, or squared off near the base, and is long-tapered to the petiole. It tapers to a sharp point at the tip with concave sides along the tip. The upper and lower surfaces are hairless. The margins are toothed with sharp, forward pointing teeth.

The inflorescence is a tight, narrow, cylindrical, branched array (panicle) at the end of the stem. The panicle is 4 to 12 long and rarely more than 3 wide. The branches of the panicle are widely spaced, opposite near the base and alternate at the top. Each branch of the panicle is subtended by a narrowly lance-shaped, leaf-like appendage (bract) and terminates in a branched cluster (cyme) of several flowers.

The flowers are ¼ to long and tube-shaped. There are 5 sepals, 5 petals, 4 fertile stamens, 1 sterile stamen (staminode), and 1 style. The sepals are dull green and fused at the base into a deeply saucer-shaped calyx tube, then separated near the middle into 5 broad, rounded, egg-shaped, 1 16 to long lobes. The 5 petals are fused at the base into a wide corolla tube then separated into 2 lips. The upper lip is divided into two lobes and projects forward, functioning as a hood. It is mostly dull reddish-brown on the outside, yellow at the base. The lower lip is divided into 3 lobes. The two lateral lobes are vertically oriented, mostly dull reddish-brown on the outside, yellow at the base. The lower lobe is green and is folded downward. The 4 fertile stamens have white anthers, are paired, and do not extend beyond the corolla tube. The infertile staminode is fan-shaped, often wider than long, roundly dilated at the tip, and yellowish-green.

The fruit is a dull brown, ¼ to long, more or less egg-shaped capsule.

 
Similar
Species

Late figwort (Scrophularia marilandica) stems of older plants are rounded and prominently grooved between the angles. The inflorescence is loose, pyramid-shaped, irregularly branched, and up to 6 wide. The sterile staminode is purple, not yellow.


Distribution Distribution Map  

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


Comments

 


Taxonomy

Family:

Scrophulariaceae (figwort)

 

Tribe:

Scrophularieae

 
Synonyms

Scrophularia pectinata

Scrophularia occidentalis

Scrophularia leporella

 
Common
Names

early figwort

hare figwort

lanceleaf figwort


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

bract

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

 

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.

 

cyme

A branched, flat-topped or convex flower cluster in which the terminal flower opens first and the outermost flowers open last.

 

panicle

A pyramidal inflorescence with a main stem and branches. Flowers on the lower, longer branches mature earlier than those on the shorter, upper ones.

 

petiole

The stalk of a leaf blade or compound leaf that attaches the leaf blade to the stem.

 

staminode

A modified stamen that produces no pollen. It often has no anther.

       

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