Sunday, January 27, 2013

Plant Profile: Lemon Bacopa/ Blue Waterhyssop, Bacopa caroliniana

By Jacqueline Maxwell, Joshua West, and Megan Van Fleet

This post is one of a series from professor Nisse Goldberg's Botany students at Jacksonville University.

Figure 1. Succulent leaves of lemon bacopa.
Photo credit: Shirley Denton.
Classification

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Plantaginales
Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Bacopa
Specific epithet: caroliniana

Description
Bacopa caroliniana, commonly known as lemon bacopa or blue waterhyssop, thrives in both fresh and brackish water.
This aquatic herb can be found in both ponds and wetlands throughout the state, where it prospers in shallow water. Lemon bacopa is one of three native Bacopa species in
Figure 2. B. caroliniana with bronzed leaves
& flowers held above water.
Photo credit: Roger Hammer.
Florida. Some taxonomists may place the genus in the family Scrophulariaceae.

The plant's common name is derived from its bright green, succulent leaves (Figure 1), which, when crushed, have a lemony scent. The leaves can also change color,
turning red or bronze with increased light intensity,(Figure 2).  Lemon bacopa is not very tall (4-6 inches), but its lateral growth is significant. It appears to creep across the surface, sprawling in all directions. Of the species found in Florida, it is the only one to produce blue flowers and these are typically found above water (Figure 2).

Looking for a plant to accent your home aquarium? Lemon bacopa is fairly easy to grow, so give it a shot. Contact the Florida Association of Native Plants to find a vendor near you. After you’ve got one, you can propagate it from the side shoots and share it with a friend!

References

Image Sources
Figure 1. http://www.shirleydenton.com/plants/web_pics/b/bacop_car_fl2.jpg
Figure 2. http://florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/Photo.aspx?id=6956

2 comments:

Survival Gardener, AKA David the Good said...

Bonus: Lemon bacopa is edible. How cool is that?

Great profile.

The Jolly Bloggers said...

VERY cool! Thanks for the tidbit, David!