Purple Gerardia

By William T. Hathaway

Purple Gerardia

The Purple Gerardia (Agalinis purpurea) is one of those seldom-seen summer wildflowers that bloom in late July until frost. It seems to prefer damp, mostly sandy soils of woodlands and low meadows.

My observations of these plants have been confined to pond margins where the beautiful flowers seem to hang loosely over shallow water. Its showy flowers are almost an inch long and are mostly observed from the backside of the flower; leaves are often hiding the flowers from above. Flowers are fresh in the morning, but blossoms drop from the plant if slightly touched after noon.

Several other smaller-flowered species within this genus are found within our area. These inhabit sandy fields and are the plant food for Buckeye butterfly caterpillars.