Wild Florida Photo
Nature Photography by Paul Rebmann
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HEARTS-A-BUSTING (WITH LOVE)
A frequent perennial of mesic to wet hammocks in much of Florida north of Lake Okeechobee. The range extends throughout the southeast, west into Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri, and north to Illinois through New York state.
An erect to straggling green-stemmed shrub to almost 2 m (~ 6 ft.) tall. Leaves are opposite, sessile or nearly sessile, thin and lanceolate to ovate with toothed margins. The flattish flowers are terminal and axillary on obvious but thin pedicles. Flowers have 5 stamens on a fleshy disk surrounded by five light green petals. There are 5 sepals. Fruit is a warty capsule with three to five sections that split open when mature exposing the red fleshy seeds.