Hackelia virginiana is a biennial herb, stout, to 1 m tall, finely hairy, branches numerous, perpendicular to stem axis.
Leaves alternate, stalked, blade elliptic, basal leaves rounded, to 30 cm long, 7 cm wide, usually withering before plant flowers, stem leaves pointed at both ends, stalkless (sessile), becoming small bracts on flowering stems.
Flowers white, tubular, small, radially symmetrical, to 0.3 cm wide, 5-parted, petal lobes spreading, small rounded appendages (fornices) block throat of corolla; ovary superior, deeply 4-lobed, borne on the elongated floral base (receptacle); inflorescence uncoiling from tip of branch as flowers develop, fruit develops behind flowers (as in many Ranunculaceae); blooms and fruits July-Sept.
Fruit green, becoming dry, four parted, round, prickly capsule 0.5-0.6 cm wide, containing 4 nutlets, to 0.3 cm. Hooked and sticking on fur or clothing for dispersal.
Wetland status: FACU.
Frequency in NYC: Very infrequent.
Habitat: Dry woods.