Lechea minor

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Lechea minor
Lech mino.JPG
Photo by Shirley Denton (Copyrighted, use by photographer’s permission only), Nature Photography by Shirley Denton
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Order: Violales
Family: Cistaceae
Genus: Lechea
Species: L. minor
Binomial name
Lechea minor
LECH MINO dist.jpg
Natural range of Lechea minor from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common name: Thymeleaf pinweed[1]

Taxonomic notes

Synonym: Lechea thymifolia Michaux[1]

Varieties: none[1]


This species can be frequent where it occurs. [2]

"Perennial herbs with taproots and basal rosettes of procumbent, leafy stems late in the season; early stems erect, several from a crown, freely branched above, appressed or spreading pubescent. Leaves opposite, subopposite, whorled or subverticillate on the lower part of the stem, usually alternate above, usually short-petiolate; leaves of the winter rosettes usually whorled or subverticillate. Inflorescence of scroppoid cymes or racemes in a panicle or theyrse. Sepals 5, outer 2 linear, inner 3 elliptic to ovate; petals 3, reddish or maroon, usually shorter than the sepals; stamens mostly 5-15; stigmas 3, red, plumose. Capsule 1-3 seeded; seeds reddish-brown or brown ca. 1 mm long." [3]

"Stems appressed pubescent, 2-7 dm tall with mostly spreading ascending branches; principal stems 1-2 mm in diam. Leaves oblong to elliptic, spreading to spreading-ascending, 6-12 mm long, 1-3 mm wide, glabrous above, ciliate, pubescent beneath mostly on the midrib and near the margins; leaf arrangement similar to no. , but opposite and whorled arrangement often higher into the inflorescence; petioles ca. 1 mm long. Inner sepals are shorter than the capsule, 1-1.5 mm long, outer slightly longer. Capsule ellipsoid 1.2-1.7 mm long, 0.7-1 mm broad, 3-seeded." [3]


This plant's range extends north in Massachusetts and Vermont, west to southern Ontario and northern Indiana, and south to Florida and Louisiana.[1]



This species is found in sandy soils in open fields, open bogs, and longleaf pine forests. [2] It also occurs in human-disturbed areas such as powerline corridors and old roadbeds. [2] Associated species include Longleaf pine and wiregrass. [2]

Lechea minor is an indicator species for the Clayhill Longleaf Woodlands community type as described in Carr et al. (2010).[4]


This plant flowers July through August and fruits August through October.[1]

Seed dispersal

This species is thought to be dispersed by consumption by vertebrates. [5]

Seed bank and germination

Several short-lived perennial forbs also have a seed bank persistent for at least several years.[6]

Fire ecology

L. minor can grow in areas that are annually burned[2] as shown by populations that have been known to persist through repeated annual burning.[7]

Conservation, cultivation, and restoration

Cultural use

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Weakley, A.S. 2020. Flora of the Southeastern United States. Edition of 20 October 2020. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: http://herbarium.bio.fsu.edu. Last accessed: June 2014. Collectors: Robert K. Godfrey, Kevin Oakes, and R. Komarek. States and Counties: Florida: Leon and Franklin. Georgia: Baker, Grady, and Thomas.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Radford, Albert E., Harry E. Ahles, and C. Ritchie Bell. Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas. 1964, 1968. The University of North Carolina Press. 720-1. Print.
  4. Carr, S.C., K.M. Robertson, and R.K. Peet. 2010. A vegetation classification of fire-dependent pinelands of Florida. Castanea 75:153-189.
  5. Kirkman, L. Katherine. Unpublished database of seed dispersal mode of plants found in Coastal Plain longleaf pine-grasslands of the Jones Ecological Research Center, Georgia.
  6. Platt, W. J., S. M. Carr, et al. (2006). "Pine savanna overstorey influences on ground-cover biodiversity." Applied Vegetation Science 9: 37-50.
  7. Glitzenstein, J. S., D. R. Streng, R. E. Masters, K. M. Robertson and S. M. Hermann 2012. Fire-frequency effects on vegetation in north Florida pinelands: Another look at the long-term Stoddard Fire Research Plots at Tall Timbers Research Station. Forest Ecology and Management 264: 197-209.