waterleaf

waterleaf

[waw-ter-leef, wot-er-]
noun
any of several North American plants of the genus Hydrophyllum, having clusters of bluish or white flowers and leaves often bearing marks resembling water stains.

Origin:
1750–60; water + leaf

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
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waterleaf

any of about eight species of herbaceous plants constituting a genus (Hydrophyllum) in the borage family (Boraginaceae) and native to damp woodlands of North America. Light-greenish mottling on the leaves, suggesting watermarks on paper, gives the genus its name. Notable members of the genus are the 75-cm- (2.5-foot-) tall Virginia waterleaf (Hydrophyllum virginianum), with five- to seven-lobed leaves; it is also called Shawnee salad and John's cabbage in reference to the edible tender young shoots. The large-leaved waterleaf (H. macrophyllum) is similar to the Virginia waterleaf but is rough and hairy and about 60 cm tall. The broad-leaved waterleaf (H. canadense), also 60 cm tall, has maplelike leaves. Some species are used in wildflower gardens; they are valued for their attractive leaves and clusters of small white to purplish flowers with stamens that extend beyond the petals.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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