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Pontederia cordata L. – Pickerelweed

General: Perennial aquatic herb, stems erect, up to 1 m tall, bearing a single leaf; from thick, spreading rhizomes.


Leaves: Thick, waxy, with many parallel veins; highly variable in shape and size, lance- to egg-shaped, heart-shaped at base and blunt-tipped, 2–25 cm long, 2–15 cm wide, with long, sheathing stalks.


Flowers: Compound violet to blue with two yellow dots on upper lip, funnel-like, about 8 mm long, two-lipped with a three-lobed upper tepal and three spreading lower tepals; in a dense, glandular-hairy, stalked spike (which can grow to about 15 cm long) above a large bract; soon fading; July to September.


Fruits: Six-ridged, bladder-like capsule 7–10 mm long.


Where found: In shallow water (rarely more than 1 m deep) along muddy or sandy shores of lakes, ponds, marshes, rivers and streams; often forming large dense colonies in still waters of coves and bays; from Ontario to Nova Scotia, south to Texas and Florida.




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