Nodding Onion Gardens

Native Plant Nursery

Where Wildflowers Grow

Columbia Station, Ohio, USA


 Ludwigia alternifolia - Seed Box

Ohio Native - Plant Natural Range

Ludwigia alternifolia - Seedbox

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service has a wonderful map showing the natural range of Seedbox

Ludwigia alternifolia in full bloom!
Ludwigia alternifolia in full bloom!

Wildlife Significance

Followers Pollinated by - Honeybees, bumblebees, carpenter bees

Pollen & Nectar consumed by - Bruchid Beetle - Acanthoscelides alboscutellatus some pollination may occur.

Stems & leaves - Meals for muskrats. This is not first hand knowledge as muskrats have never visited our backyard

Deer - Research indicates that deer may browse Ludwigia alternifolia. I would love to know if anyone has noticed this or not.

Seedox Solitary Host Plant - For Bruchid Beetle - Acanthoscelides alboscutellatus. Eggs are laid on the outside of drying capsule; larvae enter in the seed, mature into adult beetles who spend the winter protected by their cocoons. When spring arrives adults emerge from their cocoon greeted by a full course meal of Seedbox seeds. Once the seed has been consumed, strong and healthy beetles attempt to venture out from the safely and comfort of their winter home. Ah, but there is one tiny catch. The seed coat is strong and durable, the only way out is through the apical pore hole. Smaller beetles easily emerge; large ones are trapped and eventually die, keeping the population of this beetle species in check, rewarding those naturally petite. I bet those burly guys wish they knew some of Harry Houdini tricks!


For more details on this plant visit the Illinois Wildflower website.
Green square seed capsule on Ludwigia alternifolia
Seed Capsule forming on Ludwigia alternifolia

Seed Provenance - Native Bee-Ginnings, Pennsylvania - 2019 - NOG 2020

Brown square seed boxes from Seedbox
With four side it is easy to see why they are called seedbox!

Cultivation Information

Height - 1 to 3 feet - My first year plants which flowered were only 1 ft tall

Flower Color - Yellow - four petals

Blooms - May to July - By August the flowers were past their prime - individual flowers lasted a few days, fall off, as others open

Sun - Part sun to light shade

Hardy Zone - 4 to 8

Soil -moist to wet/rich humus

Family – Onagraceae - Evening Primrose

Seed Adventure (Dispersal) – By “kayak, Hot Air Balloon or parachute" It seems to reason, that with somewhere between 200 to 2,000 seeds per capsule that any of these three methods of seed dispersal would ensure the success of the local Seedbox population.

Short lived Perennial - This remains to be seen as we have only been raising Seedbox for one season. Even if this is the case, considering the number of seeds per capsule the odds of viable seed look good!
2021 - In the summer of 2020 I planted several young Seedbox plants in a moist, sunny location, a small dogwood bush provides protection from the hot afternoon sun. I have so many questions about this little darling. Does it spread easily? Can it hold its own against its neighbor a robust patch of Golden Ragwort? Does it fill in and become bushier with time? Spring of 2021 will reveal the answers to my questions.
red stem on young Seedbox
Notice the red stem on young Seedbox
forning green seed pods on Seedbox
As petal drop seeds pods begin to form