Houttuynia cordata from Mary, SC

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What is this invasive plant/weed that grows in shade (under shrubs), sandy, dry soil, and has a distinctive/sour odor when pulled?

Hi Mary,

this plant was probably planted originally and it is spreading. It is called Houttuynia cordata, the Chameleon plant. The multicolored form is usually planted in gardens, but it tends to revert to its all-green wild form. It is related to our native plant called Lizard’s Tail, Saururus cernuus. It is actually also related to our black pepper spice, hence its aroma. An interesting plant but it can spread from deep rhizomes.


Dr. Steven Hill, Botanist, SCNPS

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