Population of Pacific Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum tenuipes). One of 100+ species of Pacific Northwest native plants available at Sparrowhawk Native Plants, Native Plant Nursery in Portland, Oregon.
Close-up of Pacific Waterleaf flower (Hydrophyllum tenuipes). One of 100+ species of Pacific Northwest native plants available at Sparrowhawk Native Plants, Native Plant Nursery in Portland, Oregon.
Pacific Waterleaf plant with fuzzy bud (Hydrophyllum tenuipes). One of 100+ species of Pacific Northwest native plants available at Sparrowhawk Native Plants, Native Plant Nursery in Portland, Oregon.
Population of Pacific Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum tenuipes). One of 100+ species of Pacific Northwest native plants available at Sparrowhawk Native Plants, Native Plant Nursery in Portland, Oregon.

Pacific Waterleaf

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Hydrophyllum tenuipes

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 - June
  • 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