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

Wool Breeches, Woolen Breeches, Ballhead Waterleaf

Hydrophyllum capitatum var. capitatum

Ballhead Waterleaf, Wool Breeches, Woolen Breeches: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. capitatum

Ballhead waterleaf (var. capitatum) as seen along the North Fork Catherine Creek Trail #1905. Eagle Cap Wilderness...........June 12, 2018.

Ballhead Waterleaf, Wool Breeches, Woolen Breeches: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. capitatumPhoto at right of ballhead waterleaf (var. capitatum) from Buckhorn Campground, Wallowa-Whitman N.F............May 30, 1999.
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.


Ballhead Waterleaf, Wool Breeches, Woolen Breeches: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. capitatum

Ballhead waterleaf as seen along Reecer Creek Road above its junction with forest road #3521, Wenatchee National Forest.........June 5, 2009.

Ballhead Waterleaf: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. capitatum - Ballhead Waterleaf, Wool Breeches, Woolen Breeches: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. capitatum

The photo at left shows a close-up of ballhead waterleaf as seen on moist soils (where the snow has just melted) at Buckhorn Lookout on the western edge of the Imnaha Canyon in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.........June 27, 2008. The photo at right shows what appears to be ballhead waterleaf (var. capitatum) in forest along the Line Butte Trail #807 on the southern slopes of Lookout Mountain, Ochoco National Forest.......June 22, 2017. Most ballhead waterleafs near this location are var. alpinum.

Hyrodphyllum capitatum var. capitatum - Hydrophyllum capitatum var. capitatum

The 2 photos seen directly above show close-ups of ballhead waterleaf (variety capitatum) as photographed alongside Cold Springs Road in the northern Hells Canyon NRA..........June 26, 2008.

Ballhead Waterleaf, Wool Breeches, Woolen Breeches: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. capitatum

Ballhead waterleaf as seen on Wedge Mt., Wenatchee National Forest.........June 8, 2009.

Ballhead Waterleaf, Wool Breeches, Woolen Breeches: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. capitatum - Ballhead Waterleaf, Wool Breeches, Woolen Breeches: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. capitatum

Additional examples of ballhead waterleaf as seen along Oregon Highway 218 at a pass between Antelope, OR and Clarno, OR.........May 14, 2010.

Ballhead Waterleaf, Wool Breeches, Woolen Breeches: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. capitatum

Ballhead waterleaf as seen along Road 35 on Table Mountain, Wenatchee National Forest..........June 4, 2013.

Ballhead Waterleaf, Wool Breeches, Woolen Breeches: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. capitatum - Ballhead Waterleaf, Wool Breeches, Woolen Breeches: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. capitatum

Ballhead waterleaf blooming at left on Bickleton Ridge in the Bickleton Ridge Unit of the Klickitat Wildlife Area.......May 7, 2017. The photo at right shows ballhead waterleaf blooming on Bickleton Ridge in the Bickleton Ridge Unit of the Klickitat Wildlife Area.......April 20, 2018.

Ballhead Waterleaf, Wool Breeches, Woolen Breeches: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. capitatum

The photo above shows ballhead waterleaf (var. capitatum) as seen along the Deschutes River Access Road, several miles downstream from Sherar's Bridge............March 24, 2007. The plant was seen at the bottom of a basalt talus slope.

Ballhead Waterleaf, Wool Breeches, Woolen Breeches: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. capitatum - Ballhead Waterleaf, Wool Breeches, Woolen Breeches: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. capitatum

Ballhead waterleaf (var. capitatum) observed along the Hardstone Trail, Cottonwood Canyon and adjacent BLM lands.....March 26, 2021.

Ballhead Waterleaf, Wool Breeches, Woolen Breeches: Hydrophyllum capitatum var. capitatum

The photo above shows ballhead waterleaf (var. capitatum) as seen along the Hanna-Arbuckle Rd to the southeast of Heppner, OR.......May 6, 2000. Note that the stems extend somewhat above ground level.

Paul Slichter