E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Hydrophyllum capitatum Douglas ex Benth.
Dwarf waterleaf (ballhead waterleaf; woolen-breeches)
Hydrophyllaceae (Waterleaf family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Laure Wilson Neish  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #14915)

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Distribution of Hydrophyllum capitatum
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Hydrophyllum capitatum var. capitatum

Species Information

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Perennial herb from a short, deep-seated rhizome with fleshy fibrous roots; stems spreading to ascending, solitary or few, hairy, 10-40 cm tall.
Mostly basal, 10-15 cm long, 7-10 cm wide, long-stalked, pinnatifid into 7-11 leaflets, these with rounded margins or the margins with toothed lobes.
Inflorescence of compact, branched, short-stalked clusters of funnel-shaped flowers, the inflorescence shorter than the leaves; corollas lavender or bluish-purple to white, 5-9 mm long, 5-lobed, the lobes 2-6 mm long; styles and stamens protruding beyond the corolla; calyces bristly-hairy with linear-oblong lobes.
Capsules, globose; seeds 1-3.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Early Spring
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Moist to dry meadows and forest openings in the steppe and montane zones; frequent in SC and SE BC; E to SW AB and S to CO and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Hydrophyllum capitatum

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 426 1395 2149
Slope Gradient (%) 5 40 88
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
55 182 340
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 2 6
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: AT(7), ESSF(16), ICH(8), IDF(27), IMA(1), MS(9), PP(3), SBS(1)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References