Helianthemum canadense (L.) Michx. - Common Rockrose


 

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Helianthemum canadense - (image 1 of 3)

 

Taxonomy

Family: Cistaceae

Habitat

Sand prairies and oak savanna. Disturbed sandy soils. Pine barrens.

Associates

Vaccinium angustifolium has always been nearby where I have found this species.

Distribution

Most of the northeastern US, from MN east and south through the Carolinas.

Morphology

Herbaceous perennial to 18" high. Petal-bearing flower yellow, terminal, 1 or rarely 2, exceeded by lateral branches, petals 5, many stamens. Apetalous, bud-like flowers produced in axils of branch leaves, the larger capsules of which are 3-4mm in diameter. Seeds dark brown, minutely papillose..

Notes

Flowers mid May to early July

Wetland indicator: Upland

The characteristic that stands out to me in the terminal flower is how the stamens radiate in a half-circle. This plant is also called frostweed because on cold autumn days ice crystals form out of sap exuding from cracks near the base of the stem.

Bibliography

Niering, W. A. 1979. The Audubon society field guide to North American wildflowers: eastern region.
Knopf/Random House, New York.

 

Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.

 


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 Michael Hough 2005