Mecardonia acuminata var. acuminata (Walter) Small
Family: Plantaginaceae (Plantain)
Plant is a genus of herbaceous plants in the Plantain family. Numerous species have been described, of which 12 are accepted in this area. Its distribution is predominantly in South America and the southeastern United States, including Florida and Alabama. A few sightings have been reported in Virginia. For the greater part, however, South America (Argentina) is its most favored home. The plants have a tendency to turn black when dry.
The stems are usually about 15 inches in length, with leaves having four or more wing-like protrusions and oval-shaped in outline. Each leaf will be about one inch or less in length on short stems.
The flower has a five-lobed calyx, with unequal lobes that are more or less free to the base. Flower stems are scale-like (imbricate); axillary (arising from the leaf axil) on short pedicles. The lobes are widely lance-like to ovate; two middle lobes being longer and slightly overlapping. The flowers are quite small appearing white or lavender, but on close inspection one sees a yellowish color with purple at the throat and bearded at the mouth. Each flower will have four fertile stamens.
Fruit is a capsule containing reticulated seeds that resemble a network of webbing.
The genus was first described in 1794 by Ruiz & Pav by Florae Peruvianae and named after Antonio Meca y Cardona, who founded the botanical gardens in Barcelona in 1784.