Wild versus Domestic Petunias
"I saw your posting on wild petunias. By any chance are they related to domestic petunias? I don't have any wild ones in my garden but I do have domestic ones...." -- Alice
Interesting you should ask, Alice. Although they look very similar, Missouri's wild petunias are not related to the more popular, and common, domestic petunias.
Missouri's wild petunias Ruellia strepens are perennials that grow in rich open woods, streamsides, open valleys and moist uplands. Wild petunias are North America's version of the petunias purchased over summer.
Petunia is a genus of 35 species originally from South America, closely related to tobacco, tomatoes, cape gooseberries, potatoes and chili peppers. The popular flower of the same name derived its epithet from the French, which took the word petun, meaning "tobacco," from a Tupi-Guarani language.
Can you now see the difference in the photos between the two?