Flower of the Day: Fogfruit

Phyla lanceolata; Verbenaceae (verbena family)

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This tiny thing is easily lost among all the weedy plants sprawling along muddy streambanks.  I took few quick snapshots, then couldn’t find anything like it in my books, and almost gave up trying to identify it.  Then the internet came to my rescue.  (Ends up it is in Clements and Gracie, I just missed it there.)

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There isn’t much information about this plant on the internet.  It stands a foot tall at most; the inflorescence is smaller than a fingernail, with each individual flower measuring about 1/8 inch wide.  You really need to be down on the ground searching for something (a lens cap, say) in order to know it’s there. Fogfruit is found throughout the US except the Pacific northwest.  It’s endangered in New Jersey and rare in Pennsylvania.

A related species found in this area (P. nodiflora) has the enticing common name turkey tangle fogfruit.  Who comes up with these names?  I hope to find it someday, just so I can go around saying “turkey tangle fogfruit”.  I think that’s even funnier than bastard toadflax.

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