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 other heartleafs, which tend 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 urns. 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 Comments Add yours

  1. Mary Jane and Rod says:

    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

    1. gloria says:

      Glad to hear you were out in this exciting wildflower season! I love twin leaf– it is one of my favorite spring wildflowers.

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