Rhizomes: internodes short, leaves crowded at rhizome apex (or internodes somewhat elongate, leaves scarcely crowded in var. arifolia and var. callifolia growing in wet places). Leaf blade commonly variegate, triangular-sagittate to subhastate, infrequently ovate-sagittate to deltate. Flowers: calyx tube narrowly to broadly urceolate-campanulate or ovoid, 12-30 × 6-12 mm, inner surface smooth; lobes erect or spreading, 2-8 × 2-9 mm, adaxially puberulent; stamen connective extending slightly beyond pollen sacs; ovary ca. 1/3-inferior; ovules ca. 6 per locule; styles 2-cleft to stigma. Hexastylis arifolia is the most widespread species in the genus. Along the boundaries where the ranges of the varieties meet, intermediate specimens are occasionally found. The Catawba tribe used Hexastylis arifolia (no varieties specified) medicinally for stomach pains, miscellaneous pains, heart trouble, and backaches; the Rappahannock, for treating whooping cough and asthma (D. E. Moerman 1986).
Lvs mostly triangular in outline, 5-15(-20) cm long and about as wide, mostly broadest below the summit of the petiole, with comparatively wide and shallow sinuses, or varying even in the same colony to cordate-ovate; cal urceolate, the tube 1.2-2.8 cm, constricted above, the erect to spreading lobes 2-8 mm, about as wide at base as long; style-extension bifid to the stigma; 2n=26. Moist or dry woods; s. Va. to se. Ky., s. to n. Fla., Ala., and se. La. Apr., May. Var. arifolia, the s. and e. phase of the species, in our area restricted to se. Va., has ±spreading cal-lobes 3-8 mm long and wide. Var. ruthii (Ashe) H. L. Blomq., the nw. phase of the species, in our range restricted to sw. Va. and se. Ky., has erect or slightly spreading cal-lobes 2-5 mm long and wide.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.