Spigelia marilandica L.

Spigelia marilandica plant

Family - Loganiaceae

Stems - To +/-50cm tall, herbaceous, erect, glabrous, multiple from base, typically simple, minutely winged from decurrent leaf tissue. Wings to -1mm broad.

Spigelia marilandica stem

Leaves - Opposite, sessile, decussate, ovate, acuminate, entire, to +10cm long, +5cm broad, typically glabrous above, short sparse pubescent below (mostly on the veins).

Spigelia marilandica leaves

Inflorescence - Terminal one-sided (secund) spike to +/-10cm long.

Spigelia marilandica inflorescence

Flowers - Corolla tube deep crimson externally (yellowish at very base), pale yellow to yellow internally, to +/-4cm long, 5-lobed. Lobes lanceolate, 1.2cm long, 4-5mm broad, acuminate, glabrous, erect to spreading. Stamens 5, alternating with the corolla lobes, adnate at apex of corolla tube, erect. Filaments 6-7mm long, white, glabrous. Anthers yellow, 3mm long. Style white, glabrous, 4cm long. Ovary superior, 2-locular, yellowish, 1.1mm long, 2mm broad, glabrous. Placentation axile. Sepals 5, attenuate, 7-8mm long, 1.1mm broad at base, glabrous.

Spigelia marilandica calyxCalyx close-up.

Spigelia marilandica flowerFlower close-up.

Flowering - May - August.

Habitat - Low moist woods, ravines, streambanks.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This striking species can be found in a handful of southeastern counties in Missouri. The plant is easy to identify in the field because of its brilliant red flowers and opposite leaves. No other species resembles it while in flower.
S. marilandica can be grown from seed and does well in cultivation if given moist conditions and partial shade.
The plant contains alkaloids and calcium oxalate crystals and was used traditionally as a parasite remedy.

Photographs taken of Hwy C, Reynolds County, MO., 6-5-04, and at the Walls of Jerico Wildlife Management Area, AL., 6-25-05.


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