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 macrophyllum occidentale S.Watson
Hydrophyllum watsonii (A.Gray) Rydb.
Common Name: Western Waterleaf
Hydrophyllum occidentale 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 - Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona
Thickets, dense or open woods and moist open places[
We have almost no information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain though judging by the plants native range it should succeed outdoors at least in the milder areas of this country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus.
Requires a moist humus-rich soil in semi-shade[
Slugs are particularly fond of this plant and will soon destroy it if given a chance[
Leaves - raw or cooked[
Root - cooked[
]. Used as a staple food by some native North American Indian tribes[
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.