[Waterleafs: The Genus Hydrophyllum East of the Cascade Mts. of Oregon and Washington]

Alpine Waterleaf, Woolen Breeches, Ballhead Waterleaf

Hydrophyllum capitatum var. alpinum

Alpine Waterleaf, Ballhead Waterleaf, Woolen Breeches: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. alpinum

Ballhead waterleaf (var. alpinum) as seen from Trail #201A in the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness, about one mile south of Strawberry Mountain............July 1, 2010. Note that the stems are mostly below ground so that the inflorescence appears at ground level.

Characteristics:

Ball-head waterleaf as seen in variety thompsonii is an upright wildflower from 10-40 cm high which with one to sevral stems arising from a deep but short rhizome with fleshy, fibrous roots. The leaves are few, large, and long petioled, some of whicharise from the stem below the ground. The leaf blade is pinnatifid into 7-11 sessile leaflets or lobes with the blade up to 10 cm wide and 15 cm long. The leaflets range from pointed to more frequently rounded or obtuse.

The inflorescence of variety thompsonii extends well above the leaves. The inflorescence of variety capitatum is at mid stem, below the leaf blade (The flower stem is less than 5 cm long.). The inflorescence of variety alpinum is usually found at ground level. It is ball-like with numerous white, lavender, or purplish blue flowers from 5-9 mm long. The stamens extend well past the throat of the corolla.


Varieties of Ballhead Waterleaf Found East of the Cascade Mts.:

var. thompsonii: The inflorescence is well above the leaves on a flower stem from 5-20 cm long. Found from southern Yakima County, Washington to the Columbia River Gorge where it may be found on both sides of the Columbia River.

var. capitatum: The inflorescence is below the leaves with the stem of the inflorescence less than 5cm long. Found from southern British Columbia south along the eastern slopes of the Cascades of Washington to northeastern Oregon, and east to southwestern Alberta, Utah, and Colorado.

var. alpinum: The inflorescence is found just above ground level, with the stem being almost entirely below ground. Found east of the Cascades from northern Oregon (excluding northeastern Oregon) south to California, Nevada, southwestern Idaho, and western Utah.


Habitat:

Ball-head waterleaf may be found on open to lightly wooded slopes at all elevations from the valleys and foothills to well up in the mountains.


Range:

Ball-head waterleaf may be found from southern British Columbia south along the eastern edge of the Cascade Mts. to central Californa and east to Alberta and Colorado.


Alpine Waterleaf, Ballhead Waterleaf, Woolen Breeches: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. alpinum

Flowers of Alpine Waterleaf, Ballhead Waterleaf, Woolen Breeches: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. alpinum - Flower of Alpine Waterleaf, Ballhead Waterleaf, Woolen Breeches: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. alpinum

Additional close-up photos of ballhead waterleaf (var. alpinum) as seen from Trail #201A in the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness, about one mile south of Strawberry Mountain.......July 1, 2010.

Alpine Waterleaf, Ballhead Waterleaf, Woolen Breeches: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. alpinum - Alpine Waterleaf, Ballhead Waterleaf, Woolen Breeches: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. alpinum

Alpine waterleaf as seen (left) at Jackman Park, Steens Mountain of southeastern Oregon.......June 2, 2012. The photo at right shows alpine waterleaf as seen on rock outcrops in scablands atop Lookout Mt., Ochoco National Forest.......May 29, 2016.

Alpine Waterleaf, Ballhead Waterleaf, Woolen Breeches: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. alpinum - Alpine Waterleaf, Ballhead Waterleaf, Woolen Breeches: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. alpinum

Alpine waterleaf as seen at Big Creek Campground, Malheur National Forest.........May 28, 2014.

Alpine Waterleaf, Ballhead Waterleaf, Woolen Breeches: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. alpinum - Inflorescence of Alpine Waterleaf, Ballhead Waterleaf, Woolen Breeches: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. alpinum

Alpine waterleaf as seen (left) in scablands near the junction of FS Roads #42 and #300, Ochoco National Forest and adjacent BLM lands..........April 30, 2016. The photo at left shows a close-up of the inflorescence of alpine waterleaf as seen west of Gray Prairie along FS Road 4215, Ochoco National Forest.........May 9, 2017. This latter plant is blooming before any foliage is above ground.

Alpine Waterleaf, Ballhead Waterleaf, Woolen Breeches: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. alpinum - Alpine Waterleaf, Ballhead Waterleaf, Woolen Breeches: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. alpinum

Alpine waterleaf blooming along the Round Mountain South Trail #805 about a mile north of the southern trailhead, Ochoco National Forest.........May 28, 2016.

Alpine Waterleaf, Ballhead Waterleaf, Woolen Breeches: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. alpinum - Alpine Waterleaf, Ballhead Waterleaf, Woolen Breeches: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. alpinum

Alpine waterleaf blooming at left in open upland pine forests around Silver Creek Marsh Campground, Fremont-Winema National Forest........April 30, 2017. Alpine waterleaf blooming on rocky soils along Trail #808A atop Lookout Mountain, Ochoco National Forest......May 26, 2018.

Alpine Waterleaf, Ballhead Waterleaf, Woolen Breeches: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. alpinum

An early blooming alpine waterleaf as viewed on scabland slopes about one-quarter of a mile north of the Upper Falls of the North Fork Crooked River, BLM lands just south of the Ochoco National Forest boundary.......April 26, 2018.

Alpine Waterleaf, Ballhead Waterleaf, Woolen Breeches: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. alpinum

The photo above shows ballhead waterleaf (var. alpinum) as seen from Winter Ridge, Fremont N.F., May 26, 1996. Note that the stems are mostly below ground so that the inflorescence appears at ground level.

Alpine Waterleaf, Ballhead Waterleaf, Woolen Breeches: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. alpinum

The photo above shows ballhead waterleaf (var. alpinum) from along the North Steens Loop Rd, Steens Mt., southeastern OR......May 27, 2000.

Paul Slichter