Justicia ovata (Walter) Lindau - Looseleaf Waterwillow
Family - Acanthaceae
Flowering - May - July.
Habitat - Low woods, marshes, floodplain forests.
Origin - Native to North America.
Other information - This small species can be found mainly in the southern half of Alabama. The plant can be identified by its opposite, mainly sessile leaves, and small blue flowers.
Two varieties occur in our area. Variety ovata occurs in a few southern Alabama counties. This variety has opposite flowers on the inflorescence. Variety lanceolata also occurs in a few south Alabama counties. This variety has flowers secund on the inflorescence.
The genus name Justicia is given in honor of James Justice. Justice was an 18th century horticulturist and botanist. He was known for his tulip collection and, oddly enough, was the first person in England to grow a pineapple to the fruiting stage (this normally takes about three years).
The species epithet ovata derives from the Latin "ovat" meaning "egg-shaped" referring to ?.
Photographs taken off Hwy 80 near Selma, AL., 6-4-05.