Virginia Waterleaf

The white-spotted leaves of Virginia Waterleaf.


Virginia waterleaf is a common plant of moist deciduous forest. Its large leaves are deeply toothed and are spotted in late spring and early summer by what appear to by whitish “watermarks,” which fade as summer progresses. By mid-summer, the plant dies back to the ground and is no longer apparent. The lovely white to pale lavender flowers are small, bell-shaped blossoms borne in clusters with stamens and pistils protruding well out of the flower.

The plant is an aggressive spreader and is a common species throughout the park, including in both upland and floodplain forests.

Fascinating Facts

  • Whitetail deer occasionally will graze on Virginia waterleaf, but it may not be a preferred food species.
  • The long-tongued bees, such as bumblebees, are effective pollinators of this plant.
  • The waterleaf cuckoo bee, one of our native bees, feed only on the nectar of the plants of the Hydrophyllum genus, including Virginia waterleaf.

Find It

Crosby Farm Regional Park
Fort Snelling State Park
North Mississippi Regional Park

Want to Help Us Better Understand the Park?

See our iNaturalist project, "The Life of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area" and contribute to it by downloading the iNaturalist app and uploading your sightings of this species, and others, to the project. You can also upload your sightings from your computer.

Last updated: March 7, 2018

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Mailing Address:

111 E. Kellogg Blvd., Suite 105
Saint Paul, MN 55101


(651) 293-0200
This is the general phone line at the Mississippi River Visitor Center. Please leave a voicemail if we miss your call and expect a return call within 1 day, often sooner.

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