Phyla lanceolata (Lance-leaf Fog Fruit)

Plant Info
Also known as: Northern Fog Fruit
Family:Verbenaceae (Verbena)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:sun; moist soil; along shores, floodplains, muddy flats
Bloom season:June - September
Plant height:6 to 20 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACW MW: OBL NCNE: OBL
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 4-petals Flower shape: irregular Flower shape: tubular Cluster type: round Cluster type: spike

[photo of flowers] Flowers are in a round cluster, about ¾ inches across, in a ring around a purple cone that elongates up to ¾ inch in fruit. Individual flowers are less than ¼ inch across, tubular with 4 irregular lobes, the lower lobe larger than the upper. Color ranges from white to pink to lavender; the center of each flower is usually darker than the outer petals, with 2 pair of yellow-tipped stamens and sometimes a yellow spot in the throat. The flower head sits at the end of a long stalk that arises from the leaf axils in the upper plant.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are thin, up to 1½ inches long and ½ inch wide, hairless, serrated around the edges, lance-oblong to egg-shaped with a pointed tip, on a short stalk. Attachment is opposite. The stem is square and hairless, erect to ascending, rooting at the nodes and forming colonies.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of developing fruit] Fruit is a round, 2-celled capsule with a pair of nutlets in each cell.


Often found in areas prone to seasonal flooding, Lance-leaf Fog Fruit doesn't really resemble anything else so is pretty easy to identify.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park, Anoka County, and Fort Snelling State Park, Hennepin County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken at Louisville Swamp, Scott County.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Brian - Gores Pool #3 WMA - Goodhue County, near Hastings
on: 2013-02-11 21:59:50

I saw this on August 29, 2012 growing in the same area as the cardinal flowers and obedient plants near the bridge on the road to the local gaming establishment, but a bit closer to the river. Just recently identified here, upon looking back through my photos.

Posted by: Victoria - MN River NWR, Louisville Swamp Unit, Jordan,MN
on: 2013-09-01 22:05:46

Found along wet open sunny portions of Mazomani Trail.

Posted by: Brian - St. Peter
on: 2014-04-07 22:25:25

I found this plant in the floodplain forest of Chamberlain Woods SNA near the northern end on August 16, 2013, in a sunny, muddy, hot, and humid spot. Both the plant and its location were memorable.

Posted by: Tim Johnson - Hennepin County
on: 2018-09-04 17:00:54

Growing along river shore in North Mississippi Regional Park.

Posted by: Brian O'Brien - Ottawa WMA
on: 2021-07-23 12:13:07

There's a large amount of this species in bloom right now at Ottawa Wildlife Management Area in Le Sueur County, with most of it being on the south side of the interior of the road loop.

Posted by: Thomas Lammers - Redwood County
on: 2022-07-29 07:25:52

Seen 26 July 2022 at public access on Minnesota River along US Hwy 71, just west of the bridge at Morton. Fairly common on borders of woods there.

Posted by: Jennifer kerkow - Jordan, mn
on: 2023-08-05 14:06:32

Big patches of it in the MN valley Rec Area!

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