Friday, June 12, 2009

Limestone Wild Petunia (Ruellia strepens)

(Photo: 6/11/09 by Jo)

Limestone Wild Petunia (Ruellia strepens)

Other common names: Smooth Wild Petunia, Smooth Ruellia

Status: Native to North America.

Distribution: The northern limit of Smooth Ruellia is in Illinois, Indiana and eastward to New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Extends southward to Florida and Texas.

Habitat: Found in rich forest and along forest margins. Grows well in moist, organically rich, well-drained soils in part shade. Tolerates close to full shade.

Flowering period: May to July in the northern limits of its range. Blooms until September in southern states. Flowers last for only one day but the plant produces many flowers while in bloom.

Comments: Although wild petunias and cultivated petunias look somewhat similar, they are not closely related -- not even members of the same family. Wild petunias are members of the Acanthus family. Cultivated petunias were imported from South America and are members of the potato (Solanaceae) family.



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10 comments:

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Can you believe that I can actally get to comment? WOW!! Have you changed something on this since I was last here? I am so glad about it Marvin as I have missed looking at your blog. I see you have posted lots of very interesting things again. Wonderful pictures and information as always.

Doc Op said...

The one-day thing IS odd; I have picked up one of these before, and the petal-cone just fell right off. Then I picked up another plant (to take a picture) -- and the same thing. It seems that the purple floral cone is fixed in the morning, and loose by the afternoon!

Pat - Arkansas said...

As I don't have much opportunity to go tramping in the deep forest or at the forest's margin, I haven't seen one of these in the wild; pretty little thing! Lovely photo, too, Marvin. Thanks for the information about petunias being related to potatoes. That's the first new thing I've learned today!

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Lovely.

Marvin said...

Yes, Doc. One source I read says a wild petunias blooms in the morning and the bloom falls off by afternoon. Definitely not a good choice for a cut flower arrangement.

Diane C. said...

Beautiful picture, I love the spider. There is a Ruellia species that thrives in desert gardens, but I've never seen one in the wild.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

That sneaky little spider is waiting for some unsuspecting bee or fly to come to this beautiful flower. Great photo.

Abe Lincoln said...

I like your photo. I got some petunias that must have come from this one as they sure look the same. It was here last year but not this year so I guess the wicked winter got it.

I did see, thankfully, the paw paw trees are alive and starting to leaf out. They were mere whips when I planted them and bare root to boot.

laughingwolf said...

a great shot, thx marvin :)

Kelly said...

Beautiful wildflower! When I enlarged it for a better look, I found that little surprise in the middle. Cool spider...he's just waiting...