This genus is distinctive, but the species have long been puzzling. The flowers rarely open, but are reported to do so in early morning on bright days. The tiny flowers are pear-shaped to nearly spherical, with five sepals (of which the two outer are linear), three reddish petals shorter than the sepals, a variable number of stamens, and essentially sessile dark red plumose stigmas. Prostrate, evergreen vegetative shoots with crowded leaves are developed at the base of the plant late in the season.
1. Pubescence of stems and leaves mostly divergent or spreading; inner sepals with ± prominent green keel (or warty midstrip), glabrous except sometimes on the keel.
1. Pubescence of stems and leaves mostly appressed; inner sepals not keeled (but may have 3–5 inconspicuous veins), pubescent across their width.
2. Outer sepals distinctly longer than the inner ones.
2. Outer sepals distinctly shorter than the inner ones.
3. Leaves with a hard shiny ± conical brownish tip ca. 0.2–0.3 mm long; fruiting calyx less than 1.5 mm broad (before dehiscence of capsule), ± pear-shaped; seeds 2–3; plant ± diffusely branched above with the branches spreading.
3. Leaves pointed but without such a differentiated tip (flat and green to the margin); fruiting calyx mostly at least 1.5 mm broad, nearly spherical; seeds (3–) 4–6; plant compact above, the branches ascending.
4. Seeds 4–6 (5–6 in largest capsules), when fully mature covered with a reticulate white membrane; frequent in northern Michigan.
4. Seeds 3–4, without a white membrane; very rare.
All species found in Lechea
MICHIGAN FLORA ONLINE. A. A. Reznicek, E. G. Voss, & B. S. Walters. February 2011. University of Michigan. Web. March 1, 2021. https://michiganflora.net/genus.aspx?id=Lechea.