Blue Waxweed or Clammy Cuphea, Cuphea viscosissima
(Cuphea petiolata in some books)
Lythraceae or Loosestrife Family

Flower and leaves

Small plant, a few inches to less than two feet tall. All parts have short sticky ("clammy") hairs. Stem tinged purple. Leaves, narrowly oval, opposite, without teeth. The flowers are very oddly shaped. The sepals are united into a long purple-tinged trumpet from which protrude 6 purple petals, two large ones that stick up and 4 small ones that point down. Blooms in late summer. The sepals persist after flowering and eventually develop into a very odd fruit, which splits open to form a boat shaped structure from which the seeds rise up.

A peculiar native. Very rare in Wildwood; one population known near the top of the Main Street Staircase. However, the plant is so small that other populations may have been overlooked.

Easily overlooked, but unmistakeable if found; the flowers and fruits are unique in Wildwood, and the clammy hairs help confirm the identification.

Flower from side
Fruit Flower from side Stem