Lechea mucronata is a perennial or biennial herb from a woody taproot, 10-60 cm tall, hairy, flowering stem solitary or few, branched above, brownish-purple, overwintering basal shoots evergreen, prostrate, branching, to 10 cm long, densely hairy.
Leaves opposite or whorled, those of basal shoots 0.8-1.5 cm, elliptic, leathery, crowded, those of flowering stem lance-shaped, 1-3 cm long, hairy, often whorled.
Flowers reddish, tiny, rounded, sepals 5, all about the same length, the 2 outer, lance-shaped, the inner 3 broader, concave, keeled, no petals, anthers longer than sepals shedding pollen before feathery, red stigmas expanded, ovary superior; most likely wind pollinated (Barringer 2004); inflorescence of densely crowded rounded clusters on leafy branches; blooms June- Aug (Hough 1983).
Fruit dry, a small 3-parted round capsule, about as long as persistent sepals with 3 yellow-brown seeds; fruits July-Oct. (Hough 1983).
Wetland status: UPL.
Frequency in NYC: Very infrequent.
Habitat: Open, dry sandy soil.
Notes: Stems persistent through winter, reddish brown with overwintering leafy basal shoots, basal shoots die off as new flowering stems produced in summer (Levine 1995; Barringer 2004).