Schwalbea americana
American chaffseed

Schwalbea americana
Schwalbea americana
Photo Courtesy Renee Brecht
Britton & Brown
Botanical name: Schwalbea americana
Common name: American chaffseed
Group: dicot
Family: Scrophulariaceae
Growth type: forb/herb
Duration: perennial
Origin: native
Plant height: 1'-2'
Foliage: alternate, densely but minutely hairy, ¬Żlance-shaped leaves, untoothed, and clasping the stem.
Flower: reddish-purplish with yellow, 1 to 1-1/2 inches long
Flowering time: early June-early July
Habitat: sandy (sandy peat, sandy loam), acidic, seasonally moist to dry soils. It is generally found in habitats described as open, moist pine flatwoods, fire-maintained savannas, ecotonal areas between peaty wetlands and xeric sandy soils, and other open grass-sedge system 
Range in New Jersey: One known location within the Pine Barrens.
Heritage ranking, if any: S1, State Endangered, Federally Endangered, Globally threatened, listed Pinelands
Misc.: USDA lists as facultative upland: Usually occurs in non-wetlands (estimated probability 67%-99%), but occasionally found on wetlands (estimated probability 1%-33%).

U.S. F&W Species Account: "American chaffseed is an erect perennial herb with unbranched stems (or stems branched only at the base) with large, purplish-yellow, tubular flowers that are borne singly on short stalks in the axils of the uppermost, reduced leaves (bracts). The leaves are alternate, lance-shaped to elliptic, stalkless, 2 to 5 centimeters (1 to 2 inches) long, and entire. The entire plant is densely, but minutely hairy throughout, including the flowers. Flowering occurs from April to June in the South, and from June to mid-July in the North. Chaffseed fruits are long, narrow capsules enclosed in a sac-like structure that provides the basis for the common name. Fruits mature from early summer in the South to October in the North. Schwalbea is a hemiparasite (partially dependent upon another plant as host). Like most of the hemiparasitic Scrophulariaceae, it is not host-specific, so its rarity is not due to its preference for a specialized host. Although another species (S. australis) was once recognized, the genus Schwalbea is now considered to be monotypic."

A frequent fire regime is considered to be necessary for the survival of Schwalbea americana.