The annual weed, also known as Aunt Lucy, is a member of the Waterleaf family (Hydrophyllaceae) and is native to the US where it is found in most states except the Southeast, northern New England, and West Coast. It likes part shade and moist soil and does well in disturbed areas, moist woods, floodplains, and gardens.Waterweed first appears in late winter or early spring, blooms, sets seed, and dies by mid-to late summer.
Plants grow four to sixteen inches tall and have pale to green to pale purple stems that are succulent, occasionally branched and have tufts of long white hairs. The hairy, medium to dark green leaves are four inches long and one inch wide. They are divided into seven to thirteen narrow, leaflets each with three to five teeth. The pale blue to white flowers are ¼ inch across and appear in mid- to late spring on short slender stalks that arise from the leaf axils. Small round capsules contain four brown seeds. A taproot anchors the plant.
Since waterweed is an annual it can be controlled by removing the plants before setting seed. This can be easily done by hand or with a hoe with no worry of the root sprouting.