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Saururus cernuus L. – Lizard’s Tail

General: Perennial, aquatic, herb with a jointed stem up to 1.5 m tall.


Leaves: Alternate, with long stalks sheathing the stem, oval to heart-shaped, 7.5─15 cm long, 3─7.5 cm wide.


Flowers: White, fragrant, 3─4 mm long, in the axils of oblong bracts. In clusters forming spikes 10─30 cm long, nodding at the tip.


Where found: Swamps and marshes.


Notes: This species is near the northern extent of its range in the Greater Ottawa region. The thriving colony pictured above (Slide 2) is in the Castor River where it crosses County Road 41 west of the village of Russell. It was photographed October 2, 2013 while searching unsuccessfully for viable seed. Lizard’s tail will grow vigorously in a garden pond but is easily kept under control. [Brian Haddon, GOWGHS] It is one of the few feature water plants that thrive in a shaded pond.


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