Common name: Lizard Tail, Chameleon Plant, Heartleaf, Fishwort, Bishop's-weed
Houttuynia cordata Thunb. APNI*
Description: Herbs (5-)30–60 cm high; rhizomes creeping, thin. Basal part of stems creeping, rooted in whorls at nodes, apical part erect, glabrous or pubescent on nodes, sometimes purplish red.
Leaves broadly ovate or ovate-cordate, (1.5-)4–10 × (1.8-)2.5–6 cm, thinly papery, densely glandular, usually glabrous, sometimes pubescent at vein axils, usually purplish abaxially, base cordate, apex shortly acuminate; veins 5–7, basal or innermost pair arising c. 5 mm above base, if 7-veined, then outermost pair very slender or inconspicuous; reticulate veins ± conspicuous. Stipular sheath (0.5-)1–2.5 cm long, 1/4–1/2 as long as petiole, usually ciliate, base enlarged and slightly clasping; petiole (0.7-)1–3.5(-4) cm long, glabrous.
Inflorescences (0.4-)1.5–2.5(-2.7) cm long, (2-)5–6 mm wide; peduncles 1.5–3 cm long long, subglabrous; involucral bracts oblong or obovate, (5-)10–15 mm long, (3-)5–7 mm wide, apex rounded. Bract beneath each flower linear, terete, inconspicuous.
Capsule 2–3 mm long, with persistent styles.
Distribution and occurrence: Native of China, India, Indonesia, Japan and Thailand.
NSW subdivisions: *CC
Leaves used medicinally; shoots eaten as a vegetable.
Text by S.F. McCune
Taxon concept: Flora of China vol 4: 109, 1999.
APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.