This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Perennial herbs, with crenate dentate or lobed long-petioled leaves, and small yellow flowers, solitary or 2-7 together on scapes or scape-like peduncles. Sepals usually 5, spreading, tardily deciduous. Petals 5-12, yellow, each bearing a small nectar-pit and scale near the base. Stamens and pistils numerous. Head of fruit oblong, oval or subglobose. Achenes compressed, sometimes swollen, longitudinally striate, without a hard coat. [Greek, coastal creeper.]
Two species, the following typical one of North America, Asia and southern South America, the other Asiatic.
1894. H. Cymbalaria Greene, Pittonia 4: 208. 1900.
Low, glabrous, somewhat succulent, spreading by runners. Leaves mostly basal, slender-petioled, the blade cordate-oval or reniform, crenate, 2"-9" long; flowers 1-7, about 3"-4" broad, borne on scapes 1'-9' long, these sometimes bearing one or more leaves toward the base; head of fruit oblong, 3"-8" long; achenes compressed, somewhat swollen, distinctly striate, minutely sharp-pointed.
On sandy shores, Labrador to New Jersey, west along the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes to Minnesota, Kansas and the Northwest Territory, and in saline soil throughout the western half of the continent, extending into Mexico. Also in Asia and South America. The so-called var. alpina Hook, is a small northern race. Summer.