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Obolaria virginica L.

Virginia pennywort

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderGentianalesGentians, coffee, gardenias, frangipani, many others
FamilyGentianaceaeAbout 1600 species of flowering plants from the genus Gentiana, named after the Illyrian king Gentius
GenusObolariaFrom Greek obolos, Latin obolus, a small Greek coin, referring to thick rounded leaves
SpeciesvirginicaFrom or referring to Virginia

About plant names...

Virginia pennywort is a North American native. This dimin­utive plant prefers rich, moist woods.

Identification: Plants are 4-10″ (10-25 cm) high, often less than 6″ (15 cm), nestled amongst the leaf litter on moist forest floors, where they are easily overlooked. Stems are pale green to purplish. Plants have opposite green or purplish green leaves that are roundish or spatula-shaped. Flowers are white or purplish, appearing in March to June.

Online References:


Discover Life

Southeastern Flora, the Southeastern U.S. Plant Identification Resource (many photos)

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center


Obolaria virginica description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Obolaria virginica (Virginia pennywort)

5/15/1979 · Virginia · By Tim Chandler


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