Saururus

Scientific name

Saururus L.

Common names

lizards tail

Family

Saururaceae

Could be confused with

Houttuynia

Native distribution

North America, China

Species commonly cultivated

Saururus cernuus L. (eastern North America)

S. chinensis (Lour.) Baill. (China)

Adventive distribution

Saururus cernuus is introduced into Europe.

Weed status

rarely considered weedy

Habit

emergent, herbaceous stem plant

Brief description

Perennial, herbaceous. Leaves alternate, widely spaced on erect or ascending stem, petiolate; stipule very small; leaf blade ovate, venation palmate; base cordate; margin entire. Inflorescence a long curved spike of small bisexual or unisexual flowers. Flowers short-pedicellate; sepals and petals absent; stamens 4 or 6, conspicuous. Dispersal by seed. Aromatic when damaged.

Natural habitat

swamps and bogs, particularly on wet ground and in littoral zone of ponds and streams

Additional comments

In China, Saururus chinensis is used for its medicinal qualities.