15 February 2015

American Bluehearts are hemi-parasitic Buchnera americana

Plants.usda.gov

American bluehearts are native to about half of the US, from TX, OK and KS east to NY and FL, usually along wet places and in limestone and sand as well as open woods.

It is important to know what they look like so we don't inadvertently speed up their extinction. They are considered threatened and endangered now.

The distinction hemi-parasitic means they are able to grow independently without a host but grow best when attached by parasitic roots called haustoria. During droughts they tend to multiply their activity to the extent that they can actually damage small trees.

Bluehearts favorite hosts are white oak, eastern white pine, green ash and cottonwood. Buckeye butterfly caterpillars use American Bluehearts as a host plant.

Click over to this post on the Arkansas Native Plant Society to read more about these fascinating plants - by Eric Hunt.


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