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Carolina Wild Petunia Ruellia caroliniensis


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Carolina Wild Petunia
credit: Mary Keim/CCSA

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Family: Acanthaceae, Acanthus view all from this family

Description Blue or violet trumpet-shaped flowers with light green leaves on short hairy stems from leaf axils.
Flowers: Length to 2" (5 cm); calyx: 5 long, thread-like lobes to 1/16" (1 mm) wide, leaf-like bracts in pairs below each flower.
Leaves: Length to 2" (5 cm), downy, elliptical, opposite, short-stalked.
Height: 1-2' (30-60 cm).

Flower May-September.

Flower June - August

Habitat Woods; particularly around limestone.

Range Southesast United States: Virginia south to Florida, west to Texas, parts of Illinois, Indiana and Missouri.

Discussion The primary difference between this and the other seven members of the genus found in the East is the long-pointed calyx lobes and bracts beneath the flower. Flowers are similar in appearance to garden petunias (genus Petunia) in the nightshade family (Solanaceae).

Comments A number of varieties and forms occur throughout the eastern U.S.

Exposure Preference Partial sun.

Native Distribution Florida to New Jersey, w. to e. Arkansas

Site Preference Sandy, upland, open woods

Soil Preference Dry, sandy soils.