Parietaria pensylvanica (Pennsylvania Pellitory)
|Also known as:|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade; disturbed soil; woods, thickets, waste areas|
|Bloom season:||May - September|
|Plant height:||6 to 18 inches|
|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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Tiny indistinct flowers compactly clustered in the mid and upper leaf axils, the cluster surrounded by a leafy bract. Separate male and female flowers may be present as well as flowers with both male and female parts (perfect). The bract lobes are narrow with pointed tips and slightly hairy.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are thin, 1 to 3 inches long, up to ½ inch wide, mostly lance-shaped with a blunt or pointed tip, toothless, sparsely hairy, on a stalk up to 1 inch long, alternately attached, with 3 distinct veins coming from the base. Stems are weak and erect to reclining, sparsely hairy, sometimes branched but typically not.
Pennsylvania Pellitory is generally considered a (native) urban weed, popping up in disturbed soil along the sides of buildings, woods and thickets, and gardens. It has a preference for light shade and can form colonies where there is little competition. I first noticed it in my own suburban back yard after clearing out an area to plant new shrubs. It is a persistent annual but not very aggressive like invasive species are. It is similar in structure to Three-seeded Mercury (Acalypha rhomboidea) which is a larger plant with toothed leaves. It is also in the same family as Stinging Nettle, but does not have stinging hairs.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken at Vadnais/Snail Lake Regional Park, Ramsey County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?