Scrophularia lanceolata (Lance-leaf Figwort)
|Also known as:||Early Figwort, Hare Figwort|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; open woods, thickets, roadsides, railroads, open fields|
|Bloom season:||June - July|
|Plant height:||2 to 6 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FAC MW: FACU NCNE: FACU|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Short, open, branching clusters oppositely attached on the upper stem. Flowers are ¼ to 1/3 inch long, about ¼ inch across, tubular with a round base and 5 rounded lobes. The 2 upper lobes are longest, extend straight out and are shiny reddish brown to reddish green on the outside. A lower lobe folds down and is typically green. 4 stout, yellow stamens and a single slender, blunt-tipped style poke out of the mouth near the lower lobe, and a sterile stamen hugs the inside of the upper lobes. The sterile stamen is green with a fan-shaped tip, usually wider than long.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are up to 8 inches long and 3 inches wide, with a sharply pointed tip, sharp coarse teeth, and stalks up to 1¼ inch long that are less than 1/3 the length of the leaf blade and are narrowly winged. The base of the leaf is straight, slightly tapering, or broadly rounded. Attachment is opposite and there are often smaller leaves in the axils.
Lance-leaf Figwort isn't a very showy flower, but pollinators love it. Before it flowers the leaves looks similar to Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica), but there are no stinging hairs on the leaves. The flowers are much like the related Maryland Figwort (Scrophularia marilandica), which has leaves that often have heart-shaped bases and longer stalks (to 2 inches), the sterile stamen in the flower is purple with a narrow tip, usually longer than wide, and the stem is more deeply grooved on the sides.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken in Ramsey County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?