Pacific Waterleaf is a lovely groundcover with soft hairy leaves that spreads easily by rhizomes to form lush carpets in wooded areas. The flowers are greenish-white to lavender, appearing in mid to late spring, and are awe-inspiring and intricate when viewed up-close - also favored by bumblebees.
- Plant type/canopy layer: deciduous, perennial, herbaceous plant
- Size at maturity: 1' tall, spreads laterally via rhizomes
- Light requirements: full shade, part-sun/part-shade
- Moisture requirements: moist soil
- Bloom time: April - July (May - June in the Portland Metro area)
- Growth rate/ease: fast growing, easy to grow
- Wildlife support: attracts and provides nectar to adult butterflies, bees and other insect pollinators
- Native habitat/range: locally common in westside forests and coastal habitats from British Columbia to Northern California. Portland Plant List - yes.
- Special features & uses: bumblebee favorite, groundcover, pollinator garden, woodland garden. The roots of the Pacific waterleaf were known to be eaten by the Cowlitz tribes of western Washington.
Gardening with Pacific Waterleaf: This shade-loving plant prefers moist areas, but will go dormant in the summer as soils dry out. It makes an excellent, pollinator-friendly groundcover in woodland gardens and can spread aggressively in ideal conditions.
Photo Credits 1, 3, 4: Nikkie West, Sparrowhawk Native Plants
Photo Credit 2: "Pacific Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum tenuipes)" by La.Catholique is licensed under CC BY 2.0