Water Shield, an aquatic plant of the genus brasenia (an unexplained name), which formerly with cdbomba made up the family cdbombacea, but is now classed with the water lilies in nymphmacece. It differs from the members of that family (see Water Lily) in having long, slender stems, which arise from prostrate rootstocks, fork above, and bear leaves and flowers; the entire oval leaves, with the slender petioles attached at the centre, are 1½- to 4 in. long, and floating; the upper surface is green, and the under surface, with all other parts of the plant, of a dull purple; all the submersed portions of the plant are covered with a thick coating of an exceedingly transparent jelly-like substance. The solitary flowers, on axillary peduncles, bloom at the surface, but are soon submersed; they are about an inch across, with calyx and corolla each of four parts, 12 to 18 stamens, and 4 to 18 pistils, which are distinct, a few of them ripening into one- or two-seeded pods. The plant varies much in the size of its leaves and length of its stems, which, according to the depth of the water, are from 1 to 15 ft. long.

There is but one species, named, from the character of its leaves, B. peltata, found in ponds and slow streams from Canada to the gulf of Mexico, and along the northern border to Puget's sound; it occurs also in eastern India and Australia. The related cdbomba Caroliniana, in the waters of North Carolina and southward, has small floating peltate leaves, with much divided submersed ones, and whitish or yellowish flowers.

Water Shield (Brasenia peltata).

Water Shield (Brasenia peltata).