Pickerelweed

Pontederia cordata

Copyright, Vic Ramey, University of Florida

Pickerelweed is an aquatic plant which grows three to four feet tall. Usually, you only see one or two feet, because the rest is underwater.

Pickerelweed leaves are large and heart-shaped, growing up to 10 inches long. They have a long petiole (leaf stem).

Pickerelweed grows in shallow freshwater, such as marshes, pond edges, lakes, and streamsides.

This plant is most often recognized by its beautiful flowers. Pickerelweed has large spikes with clusters of violet-blue flowers. Each flower is small, less than half an inch wide. It has two small yellow spots on one petal.

The nectar of Pickerelweed flowers attracts many insects, including bees and butterflies.

Pickerelweed has long light green stems which stretch down under the water to an underground stem called a rhizome. Rhizomes grow in the muddy bottom and spread with roots to send up more Pickerelweed stems to the surface.

Micael Clayton, Wisconsin State Herbarium

Kenneth J. Sytsma, Wisconsin State Herbarium

Pickerelweed starts blooming in June and continues until November. Bees and other insects pollinate the flowers. After a flower has been pollinated, it dies and a fruit grows.

The fruits of this plant are small and contain one seed each. The seeds are a good food source for ducks and muskrats.

Muskrats also eat the leaves, as do White-tailed Deer and geese.

The leaves and stems of Pickerelweed provide good cover for birds, swimming mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and insects.

The stems of Pickerelweed keep the leaves and flowers above water.

This plant is perennial, meaning even though the leaves and stems die in the Winter, the rhizomes and roots stay alive and start new growth each year.

Pickerelweed often grows with other water plants, such as Yellow Pond Lily and Arrow Arum.

Robert W. Freckman, Wisconsin State Herbarium

Relationships in Nature:

Animals Using as Food Source

Animals Using as Shelter

Associations With Other Plants

OTHER

Muskrat

Largemouth Bass

Yellow Pond Lily

Honey Bee Po

Wood Duck

Bluegill

Arrow Arum

Silver-spotted Skipper Po

Mallard

Yellow Perch

Lizard's Tail

Golden Northern Bumble Bee Po

Canada Goose

Black Crappie

Common Duckweed

Tussock Sedge C

White-tailed Deer

Golden Shiner

Common Cattail

Beaver Mu

Honey Bee

Tesselated Darter

Green Algae

Silver-spotted Skipper

Northern Water Snake

Hydrilla

Golden Northern Bumble Bee

Crayfish

Long-leaf Pondweed

Crane Fly

Eastern Painted Turtle

Greater Bladderwort

Stagnant Pond Snail

Muskrat

Marsh Bulrush

Eastern Painted Turtle

Beaver

Swamp Rose Mallow

Common Snapping Turtle

Eastern Newt

Wild Rice

Common Carp

Green Darner

Eastern Dobsonfly

Large Diving Beetle

Stagnant Pond Snail

Southern Leopard Frog

Raccoon

Great Blue Heron

Eastern Mosquitofish

Relationship to Humans:

People sometimes eat the seeds of Pickerelweed, which are a lot like nuts. The leaves can also be boiled like greens. Many people plant Pickerelweed in their water gardens because of the beautiful flowers and leaves.

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM
Plant
DIVISION
Magnoliophyta
CLASS
Liliopsida
ORDER
Liliales
FAMILY
Pontederiaceae
GENUS
Pontederia
SPECIES
Pontederia cordata

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