- This striking species can be found scattered along the margins of the state, but is apparently absent from most of the interior counties. The plant is easy to ID in the field because of its growth habit, shiny green leaves, and purple flowers. It can, and often is, grown as an ornamental in garden ponds.
The young leaves of this species can be eaten as well as the nutritious, grain-like fruits.
Photographs taken in Brown Summit, NC., 6-10-02.
Following modified from Plants Database, United States Department of Agriculture
Robert H. Mohlenbrock. USDA NRCS. 1995.
Northeast wetland flora: Field office guide to plant species
. Northeast National Technical Center, Chester. Provided by USDA NRCS Wetland Science Institute (WSI).
This plant can be weedy or invasive according to the authoritative sources noted below.This plant may be known by one or more common names in different places, and some are listed above. Click on an acronym to view each weed list, or click here for a composite list of
Weeds of the U.S.
Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 208. 1753.
Pontédérie cordée, langue du boeuf
Narukila cordata (Linnaeus) Nieuwland; Pontederia angustifolia Pursh; P. cordata var. lanceolata (Nuttall) Grisebach; P. cordata var. lancifolia (Muhlenberg) Torrey; P. lanceolata Nuttall; P. lancifolia Muhlenberg; Unisema cordata (Linnaeus) Farwell
Plants perennial, rooted in mud. Vegetative stems contracted, rhizomatous. Flowering stems erect, to 120 cm. Sessile leaves: blade linear. Petiolate leaves emersed; stipule 7—29 cm; petiole distinctly constricted just below blade, to 60 cm; blade lanceolate to cordate, 6—22 × 0.7—12 cm. Spikes with up to several hundred flowers, 2—15 cm; spathes 5—17 cm. Perianth mauve, tube 3—9 mm, limb lobes oblanceolate, 5—8 mm, distal central lobe with 2-lobed yellow spot; proximal stamens 7—13 mm, distal 1.5—6.3 mm; style 3-lobed. Utricles with dentate ridges, 4—6 × 2—3 mm.
Flowering Mar--Nov in Florida; flowering season shorter farther north. Pond and lake margins; 0--500 m; N.B., N.S., Ont., P.E.I., Que.; Ala., Ark., Conn., Del., D.C., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kans., Ky., La., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., Nebr., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Okla., Pa., R.I., S.C., S.Dak., Tenn., Tex., Vt., Va., W.Va., Wis.; Mexico; Central America (Belize); South America.
Pontederia cordata has a large number of synonyms, at the levels of species, variety, and form (see R. M. Lowden 1973 for most names). Almost all these names are based on variations in leaf shape, but extensive morphological variation has been observed within single populations and even in individual plants. Study is needed to determine the cause of the extreme leaf base forms of cuneate on lanceolate blades and cordate on ovate blades. Variation has also been observed in peduncle pubescence. A velutinous peduncle and ovate leaf blade with slightly cuneate base is consistently found among some South American populations, hence recognition there of var. ovalis (Martius) Solms.
The reproductive biology of Pontederia cordata has been well studied (R. Ornduff 1966; S. D. Price and S. C. H. Barrett 1982, 1984). It is a tristylous species, and most populations contain all three morphs (S. D. Price and S. C. H. Barrett 1982). At least some degree of self-incompatibility exists, being strongest with the short-style morphs and weakest with the midstyle morphs (R. Ornduff 1966).
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