Monday, August 16, 2010

Ludwigia maritima

Ludwigia maritima is a perennial wildflower found in all coastal states from Louisiana to North Carolina. It occurs in flatwoods, bogs, and swamps but, as far as I can tell, it has no connection whatsoever to the sea or to maritime habitats and its species epithet, maritima, which means of the sea, is a bit of a mystery. It is very common in Florida, where it has been recorded from every county except Gadsden, Gulf, Indian River, Lafayette, Monroe, Pinellas, Santa Rosa, Suwannee, and Washington counties. Like many other native herbaceous wildflowers, it is almost unknown in cultivation in spite of being a remarkably graceful plant with slender branching stems that bear showy flowers over a very long period of time.

As is typical of Ludwigia species, it is extremely easy to grow and plants will flower during their first year when grown from seeds. Its cultural requirements are modest and it will happily grow in a pot or in the ground so long as it is provided with moist soil, bright light, and freedom from taller plants. Although adapted to wet soils, the stems arise from deep-seated subterranean tubers and, if subjected to drought, the plant will go dormant and come back from the tubers when conditions improve.


© 2010 Rufino Osorio.

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