Pacific waterleaf – Hydrophyllum tenuipes

Green leafy forest understory plant with a ball of whitish-green flowers

An emergent plant that grows well in the forest understory in Western Washington.


  • Family: Hydrophyllaceae
  • Plant Type: Herb
  • Distribution: This plant grows from British Columbia to northern California, growing on the western slope of the Cascades and along the coast in Washington.
  • Height: This plant grows 8 to 32 inches (20 to 80 cm) in height.
  • Flowers: Numerous greenish-white flowers growing in a round cluster with bristles on petals and sepals. Flowers have very long stamens extending well past the petals.
  • Leaves: Leaves are long, up to 6 inches (15cm). They are divided into 5 sharply-toothed leaflets. Leaves are thin and delicate, green, with hairs on both sides.


This plant has been eated for food, but is considered to have low palatability. The Cowlitz tribe have been documented to eat the roots.


Page Editors/Authors

This article was written by Sarah Verlinde-Azofeifa. For questions regarding the EERC Native Plant Guided Tour, contact Sarah at