[Waterleafs: The Genus Hydrophyllum West of the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and Washington]

Pacific Waterleaf, Slender-stemmed Waterleaf

Hydrophyllum tenuipes

Pacific Waterleaf, Slender-stemmed Waterleaf: Hydrophyllum tenuipes

A close-up of the inflorescence of Pacific waterleaf as seen in the forest at the base of Saddle Mountain in the Coast Range of northwestern Oregon.........June 14, 2009.

Characteristics:

Pacific waterleaf is a rhizomatous perennial with fleshy roots and a solitary stem that arises from 20-80 cm. The herbage is bristly-hairy. The several leaves alternate on the stem and are from 15 cm long and 10-15 cm wide. They are deeply parted with 5 to 7 leaflets, these leaflets or lobes with pointed tips and coarse teeth on the edges. The leaves also have a stiff, hairy texture to them.

The inflorescence is found at the tip of the stem in a curved, loose fiddlehead arrangement (cyme). The flowers are bell-shaped, yellow to light purple or blue with stamens longer than the petals. The corollas range from 5-7 mm wide while the calyx lobes range from 4-6 mm long.


Habitat:

Pacific waterleaf may be found growing in moist shady woods at low elevations.


Range:

Pacific waterleaf may be found west of the Cascades to the Pacific coast from southern British Columbia (including southern Vancouver Island) south to northern California.


Uses or Importance:

1. Leaves eaten by grazing animals.

2. Local Indians ate the roots.

3. Because of its interesting leaves and pom-pom inflorescences, it is an attractive shade plant for the shady, woodland garden.


Leaf of Pacific Waterleaf, Slender-stemmed Waterleaf: Hydrophyllum tenuipes - Pacific Waterleaf, Slender-stemmed Waterleaf: Hydrophyllum tenuipes

A close-up of the leaf of Pacific waterleaf as seen along the park road about a mile east of the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center in Olympic National Park........July 25, 2008.

Leaf of Pacific Waterleaf, Slender-stemmed Waterleaf: Hydrophyllum tenuipes

Pacific waterleaf as seen along the Saddle Mountain Trail (near the trailhead) in the Coast Range of northwestern Oregon..........May 2, 2016.

Pacific Waterleaf: Hydrophyllum tenuipes

Pacific waterleaf as seen from Gresham, WA.........April 25, 2005.

Pacific Waterleaf, Slender-stemmed Waterleaf: Hydrophyllum tenuipes

Early, new leaf growth of Pacific waterleaf as seen along the CZ Trail just east of the Nehalem Divide, Columbia County, OR......February 7, 2021.

Paul Slichter