Hydrophyllum virginianum, or Virginia Waterleaf presents itself in rich woods during late spring and the early summer months. The plants are about 12" to 16" high and the foliage is most interesting due to the mottled or painted appearance of the 3 to 7-lobed leaves. The leaves and stem are very succulent (or “watery”), not unlike the stems of jewel weed. The light violet to dark purple flowers hang like tiny bells above the leaves in what is referred to as a cyme. The long stamens protrude conspicuously beyond the 5-lobed corolla.
Virginia Waterleaf is an edible perennial; it is also known as Indian Cabbage. The plants are normally found in moist, shaded woods, but can actually be more robust in open glades or gardens, where soils are not extremely variable or dry. It is most attractive from April when the leaves are most significantly mottled, through June, when flowering occurs.
Adapted from: Virginia Wildflowers.org