Ludwigia alternifolia

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: seedbox 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Onagraceae
Native Range: Eastern North America
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Water Plant, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Fruit: Showy


Easily grown in average, consistently moist to wet soils in full sun. Tolerates light shade. May self-seed in optimum growing conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Ludwigia alternifolia, commonly called seedbox or rattlebox, is a multi-branched, yellow-flowered perennial of the evening primrose family. It typically grows to 2-3' (4') tall on reddish-tinged stems clad with short-stalked, sharply-pointed, lance-shaped, deep green leaves (to 4" long). It is native primarily to marshes, wet meadows and swamps from southern Quebec and Ontario to Kansas and south to Texas and Florida. It is found throughout the State of Missouri on stream/pond margins, wet meadows, wet places in prairies and depressions, low wet woodlands, fallow fields, ditches and along railroad right-of-ways (Steyermark). Solitary, bright yellow flowers (each to 3/4" wide) bloom on short stalks in the upper leaf axils from June to August. Flowers have four small yellow petals that are quickly shed (often dropping on the same day they open), leaving four, ovate, non-reflexed, green (sometimes red-tinged) sepals (same size as the petals). Flowers eventually give way to fruits (cubical capsules to 1/4" long), each having an apical pore. Each capsule splits open when ripe to release the numerous seeds contained therein.

Genus name honors Christian G. Ludwig (1709-1773), professor at Leipzig.

Specific epithet comes from Latin meaning alternate leaved.

Common names of seedbox and rattlebox are in reference to the interesting box-like seed capsules which, when mature, will rattle when shaken.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Native plant gardens, water gardens, pond peripheries, moist naturalized areas or low areas.