This species was traditionally placed in the family Hydrophyllaceae. However, research in the early 21st century has recognized its close affinity with the family Boraginaceae and has demoted its rank to a subfamily of the Boraginaceae. We have adopted this treatment here, but some authorities have maintained the family Hydrophyllaceae as distinct and there is some chance that it will be reinstated[
Hydrophyllum thompsonii M.Peck
Common Name: Cat's Breeches
Hydrophyllum capitatum is a perennial plant that can grow up to 0.50 metres tall.
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
Western N. America - British Columbia to Alberta, south to Oregon, Utah and Colorado.
Rich moist soils, most often in the shade, from valleys to around 2,700 metres[
Requires a moist humus-rich soil in semi-shade[
]. Grows well in an open woodland garden[
The leaves are shaped in such a way that they collect rainwater in a cavity[
Slugs are particularly fond of this plant and will soon destroy it if given a chance[
Tender young shoots - cooked as a potherb[
Root - cooked[
]. Large and fleshy[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. The seed usually germinates in early spring. Sow stored seed as early in the year as possible. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Division in spring or autumn[
]. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.