Family, Water Starwort. (The generic name means "beautiful hair," from the numerous, slender stems). Leaves very small, crowded, in tufts. This plant is one of our tiniest growths. Slender sterns with opposite leaves tufted at the root, 1 to 2 inches high, with sterile flowers consisting of a single stamen, and fertile ones consisting of a 4-celled ovary and 2 stigmas, tell the whole story.
Annuals, found in wet soil, from Connecticut to Delaware and westward.
False Loosestrife Ludvigia sphaerocarpa. (Specific name from the round capsule.) - Flowers, wanting corolla. Sepals, green. Stamens, 4. Small, sessile, single flowers occur in the leaf axils. Leaves, narrow, long, acute at both ends, alternate, slightly rough. Runners or shoots spring from the roots, covered thickly with small, broad leaves. Stem, erect, 2 to 3 feet high, its bark below often becoming thick and corky.
L. polycarpa. - This species differs from the last in having minute petals and conspicuous bractlets underneath the flower. The plant is from 1 to 3 feet high, with stout stem, and numerous stolons. The alternate leaves are rough along the margins, 2 to 4 inches long.
Swamps in Connecticut and Massachusetts, south to Kentucky, and in Kansas.