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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 199. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 8/25/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Status: Native


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1. Itea virginica L. (sweet-spire, Virginia willow, tassel-white)

Pl. 427 i–l; Map 1922

Plants shrubs, 1–3 m tall, the bark gray to brown, smooth or breaking into thin scales with age. Stems loosely ascending with spreading branches, unarmed. Twigs finely hairy, the pith broken into chambers at maturity. Leaves alternate, the petiole 2–6 mm long. Stipules minute, shed as the leaves develop. Leaf blades unlobed, 3–13 cm long, 1.5–4.5 cm wide, elliptic to oblong-lanceolate, narrowed or more commonly tapered to a sharply pointed tip, narrowed at the base, pinnately veined, the margins sharply and usually finely toothed, the upper surface glabrous, the undersurface finely hairy along the veins. Inflorescences terminal racemes 4–22 cm long, the axis hairy, the short flower stalks with inconspicuous small membranous bracts toward the base, these often shed during flower development. Flowers perfect, actinomorphic, perigynous (nearly hypogynous), fragrant. Hypanthium small, saucer-shaped. Sepals 5, 1.2–1.4 mm long, narrowly triangular from a broad base, the slender tips often broken off by fruiting. Petals 5, 4–6 mm long, somewhat longer than the stamens, linear, somewhat incurved, white. Stamens 5, short, alternating with the petals, attached to the hypanthium, the anthers attached toward their midpoint. Pistil 1 per flower, of 2 fused carpels. Ovary superior, deeply grooved, densely hairy, with 2 locules, with numerous ovules, the placentation axile. Style 1 at flowering but persistent and separating into 2 styles at fruiting, the stigma capitate. Fruits capsules, pendant at maturity, 7–10 mm long, 2–3 mm wide, the body narrowly elliptic in outline, tapered to the pair of short slender beaks, dehiscing along the groove between the carpels, with numerous seeds. Seeds 0.8–1.1 mm long, ovate to oblong-ovate in outline, somewhat flattened, the surface smooth or faintly and minutely pebbled, black, shiny. 2n=22. May–June.

Uncommon in the Mississippi Lowlands Division, mainly along the base of Crowley’s Ridge (southeastern U.S. west to Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas). Swamps, bottomland forests, and acid seeps.



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