Dichondra carolinensis (Carolina Ponysfoot)

Dichondra growing in the planter with the Tall Trailing Nasturtiums in 9-23-10, #60-9.

Carolina Ponysfoot, Ponysfoot, Grass Ponysfoot

Dichondra carolinensis

dy-KON-druh kair-oh-lin-EN-sis

Synonyms of Dichondra carolinensis (3) (Updated on 11-17-21 from Plants of the World Online): Demidofia repens J.F.Gmel., Dichondra caroliniana Willd. ex DC., Dichondra evolvulacea var. carolinensis (Michx.) Kuntze

Dichondra carolinensis Michx. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Dichondra. It was named and described as such by André Michaux in Flora Boreali-Americana in 1803.

The genus, Dichondra J.R.Forst. & G.Forst, was named and described as such by Johann Reinhold Forster and Johann Georg Adam Forster in Characteres Generum Plantarum in 1776. Johann Reinhold Forster was the father of Johann Georg Forster.

As of 11-17-21 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online lists 15 species in the Dichondra genus. It is a member of the plant family Convolvulaceae with 59 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.

Distribution map of Dichondra carolinensis from Plants of the World Online. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; http://www.plantsoftheworldonline.org/. Retrieved on 4-2-22.

The above distribution map for Dichondra carolinensis is from Plants of the World Online. Areas in green are where the species is native and purple where it has been introduced. The map on the USDA Plants Database is somewhat different… I have no clue where POWO obtained the data for their map. In Canada? Hmmm… You never know… 

The map on iNaturalist shows where members have made observations. Anyone can join and it is a great website to confirm and share your observations. The maps on iNaturalist are continually updated as members post new observations.

THERE ARE A FEW LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING AND FOR A BETTER PLANT ID.

Dichondra growing with the Aloe maculata on 5-10-10, #55-4. The pot because really full of it in time.

I lived at a mansion in Mississippi for several years, and in 2010 this viney plant started growing in a pot of Aloe maculata and a little in the back yard (behind the pots). I thought it was neat. I identified it as Dichondra carolinensis since it is the only native Dichondra in the state of Mississippi. I lived at the mansion until February in 2013 and it the Dichondra didn’t return after 2010. It disappeared as suddenly as it appeared…

I always wondered how it came up in the pot in the first place. I mixed compost, wood bark, decomposed branches, and maybe some soil from the yard along with potting soil and put it in the pot. So, I think the seed was transferred to the mix. I never watered the yard, and since the pots were watered weekly during the summer I guess it triggered the seeds to come up. I thought it may have been because I watered the pots at least once a week, but some information online says the species prefers dry sandy loam…

The uses for Dichondra are varied and interesting. Some people plant it in their lawns while others fight to get rid of it. There are even a few cultivars available as they look really good in hanging baskets.

I have received a few comments asking where to buy seed of Dichondra carolinensis… Well, that is a tough one. I checked online and found basically ZIP. Dichondra argentea, however, is widely available and there are several online sources as well as on Ebay. BUT, that species is a native of Australia. SO, if you want a native species you might want to check with the conservation department in your state or perhaps a county extension office.

There are other species of Dichondra native to other parts of the U.S. Go to the USDA Plants Database, type in Dichondra (or click HERE) and you will see the list. Click on each name and it will take you to the maps. Zoom in closer over your state to find the counties the species has been found in. HOWEVER, who knows how old the maps really are. The USDA gets their maps from BONAP and they don’t always match… BONAP maps say 2014. Well, we are a work in progress.

I live back in Missouri now, and the Missouri Plants website says Dichondra carolinensis is a fairly new species for the state. It has only been spotted in a few lower counties. Many of the other states it is listed have only scattered populations in just a few counties.

I hope you found this information somewhat useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click “Like” below if you visited this page. Be sure to check out the links below for further reading.

FOR FURTHER READING:
PLANTS OF THE WORLD ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
INTERNATIONAL PLANT NAMES INDEX (GENUS/SPECIES)
TROPICOS (GENUS/SPECIES)
WIKIPEDIA (GENUS)
USDA PLANTS DATABASE
DAVE’S GARDEN
MISSOURI PLANTS
MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN (D. argentea ‘Silver Falls’)
iNATURALIST
WILDFLOWER SEARCH
VASCULAR PLANTS OF NORTH CAROLINA
NATIVE PLANTS OF THE CAROLINAS & GEORGIA
ALTAS OF FLORIDA PLANTS
PLANTS OF LOUISIANA
ALABAMA PLANT ATLAS
THE NATIONAL GARDENING ASSOCIATION
SEINet
COASTAL PLAIN PLANTS

6 comments on “Dichondra carolinensis (Carolina Ponysfoot)

  1. Janice says:

    Hi I live in Georgia and am looking for the dichondra species that is native here. I believe that would be the one you describe Dichondra carolinensis. Do you know of a source to buy the seed for this plant?
    Thanks
    Janice

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Janice! I sent you an email. 🙂

      Like

      • Sharon Watson says:

        Hello i am also looking for it!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hello Sharon! Glad to hear from you. I have no clue where you can get actual Dichondra carolinensis seed. What you find online are Dichondra repens which is a native of Australia. It is widely available and very similar. But, if you live in the U.S. and want a native species (and more or less live in the south), you may want to contact the conservation department in your state. Let me know if you find a source. Take care and thanks for asking.

          Like

    • Travis Cohn says:

      Hello, thank you for your article here. I am seeking a source of seed of Dichondra carolinensis also. As far as I can tell searching on the web, it seems like most / all of the Dichodra seed for sale is D. repens, which is from New Zealand, and most likely an invasive threat to our native carolina pony foot (I live in North Carolina, so this feels personal! ;). Have either of you been able to find a source of D. carolinensis seed?
      Thanks very much, Travis

      Liked by 1 person

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