Virginia Heartleaf

Hexastylis virginica

Virginia Heartleaf
Virginia Heartleaf

This is another form of heartleaf ginger.  The plants pictured on this page are sporting new spring leaves: glossy and dark green.  Later they can become frosted with white.

The leaves are 2 to 3 inches wide and up to 6 inches tall, and as the name implies, they are heart-shaped.  Unlike little heartleaf, which tends to grow as a single leaf or a haphazard group, this species makes striking, dense clumps that make them a favorite of gardeners. Crushing the leaf or stem produces a ginger-like smell.

Virginia heartleaf flowers appear early in the spring (April-May) but they are mostly invisible: they grow very low to the ground are often covered by leaf litter. If you are willing to dig around for them, you will see that the flower is a brown-to reddish-purple cylinder with three tiny lobes–they look like little jugs. Click on any of the photos below for a larger view.

Look for Virginia heartleaf in deciduous and mixed forests.  These were photographed near Big Stoney Creek in the Jefferson National Forest (in the Glen Alton area).

5 thoughts on “Virginia Heartleaf”

  1. Thank you identifying Twin Leaf for us. We were at Foster Falls today and saw gorgeous stands of wildflowers we have never seen before. MJ and RJ

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