A small family of aquatic plants consisting, in our range, of only four species grouped under two genera.
Pickerel-Weed (Pontederia Cordata) is an exceedingly abundant water plant, growing profusely in shallow ponds or along the edges of fresh water streams, and flowering from June to Aug. Its name is derived from the habits of pickerel in concealing themselves beneath its leaves.
A. Pickerel-weed. Pontederia cordata.
B. Mud Plantain. Heteranthera reniformis.
The flowers grow on a spike that proceeds from a small, green, leaf-like spathe; the 3 upper divisions of the 6-parted perianth are partially united, but the 3 lower ones are spreading; in color they are a light violet blue, with two yellow spots at the base of the upper united parts. Each flower lasts but a single day, but new ones continually appear on the lengthening stalk so that continual bloom exists throughout the summer. A single heart-shaped, cordate leaf clasps the stem about midway, while others on long petioles grow from the rootstalk. They are blunt tipped, deep glossy green, and stand above the surface of the water. Commonly found from N. S. to Manitoba and southwards.
Mud Plantain (Heteranthera Reniformis) has a slender, few-flowered spike proceeding from a small sheath-like spathe. The perianth is blue and regularly 6-parted. The three stamens are unequal, two being tipped with yellow anthers and the third with a greenish one. The leaves are round-lobed, kidney-shaped, floating on long stalks from the root. Found from Ct. to Neb. and southwards.
H. dubia has a single yellow flower with equal stamens and grass-like leaves. It is found throughout the United States and southern Canada.