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Kevin Doyle

Hairy Pinweed (Lechea mucronata)

Life history

Species overview

Hairy Pinweed (Lechea mucronata), a Wisconsin Special Concern plant, is found in xeric or sandy fields, or open forests. Blooming occurs from mid to late summer. The optimal identification period for this species is .

Synonyms: Lechea villosa, Lechea minor var. villosa


  • Distinguishing characteristics: Can be distinguished from other Lechea species by the inner sepals having a green keel and being glabrous (except for sometimes on the keel), and from the pubescence on the stems and leaves being mostly spreading instead of appressed.
  • Flower characteristics: Minute, pink to red flowers densely arranged on short, lateral branches. Flowers in this genus rarely open, except for sometimes in early morning or on bright days.
  • Fruit characteristics: Dry, dehiscent capsule with the embryo visible through the endosperm.
  • Leaf characteristics: Simple, entire leaves on basal shoots are ovate-elliptic and up to 15 mm long, while cauline leaves are lanceolate to oblanceolate or elliptic and 1 to 3 cm long. Undersides are villous on the margins and midvein, but otherwise mostly glabrous. Can be alternate or opposite, but often whorled.


  • Blooming phenology: mid to late summer
  • Fruiting phenology:
  • Optimum time to identify: The optimal identification period for this species is


  • Growth form: Forb/herb
  • Vegetative reproduction:
  • Life cycle: Perennial
  • Comments:

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Hairy Pinweed (Lechea mucronata). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.

Documented locations of Lechea mucronata in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.

Summary Information
State StatusSC
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS1
Global RankG5
Tracked by NHIY

Habitats and landscapes

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

General habitat information

  • Habitat description: Found in xeric or sandy fields, or open forests.
  • Soils: Dry or sandy soils

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Hairy Pinweed. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).

Natural communities score
Dry Prairie 3
Oak Opening 3

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Hairy Pinweed. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Ecological landscape score
Southwest Savanna 3

Species guidance

The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.

Avoidance measures

These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.

  • No avoidance measures have been developed for this species.

Management guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • No guidance has been developed for this species.


Hairy Pinweed Photo.

The hairs of Lechea mucronata spread away from the stem, distinguishing it from other pinweeds in Wisconsin.

Photo by Kevin Doyle, Wisconsin DNR.

Hairy Pinweed Photo.

Photo by Kevin Doyle, Wisconsin DNR.

Hairy Pinweed Photo.

Photo by Kevin Doyle, Wisconsin DNR.

Hairy Pinweed Photo.

Scanned specimen courtesy of Wisconsin Herbarium

Hairy Pinweed Photo.

Photo © A. A. Reznicek.

Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [exit DNR].

Last revised: Wednesday, May 05, 2021
Southwest Savanna Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Western Coulees and Ridges Southeast Glacial Plains Central Sand Hills Central Lake Michigan Coastal Central Sand Plains Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northeast Sands Western Prairie North Central Forest Northern Highlands Northwest Lowlands Northwest Sands Northwest Lowlands Superior Coastal Plains Forest Transition