Pontederia cordata L.

pickerelweed

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Pickerelweed is a common aquatic plant throughout New England. Its leaves are rather variable, but it is easily recognized by the large, dense inflorescence of blue-purple (occasionally white) flowers. The large, edible seeds are eaten by ducks, while deer and muskrat browse on the foliage.

Habitat

Lacustrine (in lakes or ponds), riverine (in rivers or streams)

Characteristics

Habitat
aquatic
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Leaf arrangement
  • alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
  • the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant (basal)
Leaf blade shape
  • the leaf blade is cordate (heart-shaped with backward-facing rounded lobes), or sagittate (arrow-shaped with backward-facing pointed lobes)
  • the leaf blade is lanceolate (lance-shaped; widest below the middle and tapering at both ends)
  • the leaf blade is linear (very narrow with more or less parallel sides)
Leaf blade length
60–220 mm
Flower petal color
  • blue to purple
  • white
Flower petal length
8–17 mm
Petal fusion
the perianth parts are fused to form a tube, cup, or bell shape
Inflorescence type
the inflorescence is a spike (a long unbranched stem with flowers along it that lack stalks)
Ovary position
the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
Fruit type (specific)
the fruit is an achene (dry, usually 1-seeded, does not separate or split open at maturity)
Fruit length
4–6 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Clonal plantlets
    Axillary bulblets
    there are no bulblets being produced in axils
  • Flowers
    Anther color
    the anthers show no hint of a pink, reddish or purplish tint
    Bulblets replace flowers
    there are no bulblets where the flowers are located
    Carpels fused
    the carpels are fused (the number of carpels equals the number of locules)
    Filament surface
    the filament surface has rough hairs or scales on it
    Flower bract length
    0 mm
    Flower bracts
    there are no bracts associated with the flower
    Flower number
    At least 50
    Flower petal color
    • blue to purple
    • white
    Flower petal length
    8–17 mm
    Flower shape
    the flower has a funnel-shaped corolla tube
    Flower symmetry
    there is only one way to evenly divide the flower (the flower is bilaterally symmetrical)
    Form of style
    the style is lobed at the tip, and unbranched
    Fringed petal edges
    the petals are not fringed
    Inflorescence hair glands
    at least some of the hairs on the axis of the inflorescence have glands
    Inflorescence length
    20–150 mm
    Inflorescence type
    the inflorescence is a spike (a long unbranched stem with flowers along it that lack stalks)
    Marks on petals
    there are no noticeable marks on the petals
    Nectar spur
    the flower has no nectar spurs
    Number of carpels
    3
    Number of pistils
    1
    Number of sepals and/or petals
    there are six petals, sepals or tepals in the flower
    Number of styles
    1
    Ovary position
    the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes two cycles of petal- or sepal-like structures
    Petal appearance
    the petals are thin and delicate, and pigmented (colored other than green or brown)
    Petal fusion
    the perianth parts are fused to form a tube, cup, or bell shape
    Petal hairs on inner/upper surface
    there are hairs on the inner/upper petal surface
    Petal nectaries
    there are nectaries at the petal bases
    Sepal appearance
    the sepals resemble petals in color and texture
    Sepal length
    7–10 mm
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    the sepals are fused to each other (often along with the petals in monocots), at least near their bases
    Spathe
    the plant has a spathe surrounding the flower spike
    Spathe form
    NA
    Spathe length
    50–170 mm
    Stamen length
    1.5–13 mm
    Stamen number
    6
    Stamen position relative to petals
    NA
    Stamen types
    the stamens within a cycle are distinctly of two types
    Stamens fused outwards
    the stamens are fused to the petals or tepals at or near their bases
    Style petal-like
    the style is not broad and flattened like a petal
    Tepals
    the petals and sepals are similar in size and color
  • Fruits or seeds
    Berry color
    NA
    Capsule ridges
    NA
    Fruit compartments
    there are three locules in the fruit
    Fruit cross-section
    • the fruit is at least somewhat flattened
    • the fruit is round in cross-section
    Fruit length
    4–6 mm
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is dry but does not split open when ripe
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is an achene (dry, usually 1-seeded, does not separate or split open at maturity)
    Fruit width
    2–3 mm
    Other markings on berry
    NA
  • Glands or sap
    Sap
    the sap is clear and watery
  • Growth form
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Root septa
    the roots have transverse septa
    Underground organs
    the plant has a rhizome (a horizontal underground stem with roots growing from it)
  • Leaves
    Leaf arrangement
    • alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
    • the leaves are growing only at the base of the plant (basal)
    Leaf blade basal lobes
    the leaf blades are lobed at their bases
    Leaf blade base
    • the leaf has a distinct leaf stalk (petiole)
    • the leaf has no stalk
    Leaf blade base shape
    • The base of the leaf blade is cordate (heart-shaped, with rounded lobes) or sagittate (arrow-shaped, with pointed, backward-facing lobes)
    • the base of the leaf blade is cuneate (wedge-shaped, tapers to the base with relatively straight, converging edges), or narrow
    • the base of the leaf blade is rounded
    Leaf blade cross-section
    the leaf blade is more or less flat in cross-section
    Leaf blade faces
    both surfaces of the leaf blade are exposed
    Leaf blade form
    Fully-formed (i.e., expanded), +/- green leaf blades are found somewhere on the plant
    Leaf blade length
    60–220 mm
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is cordate (heart-shaped with backward-facing rounded lobes), or sagittate (arrow-shaped with backward-facing pointed lobes)
    • the leaf blade is lanceolate (lance-shaped; widest below the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is linear (very narrow with more or less parallel sides)
    Leaf blade surface colors
    the upper side of the leaf blade is relatively uniform in color
    Leaf blade tip
    • the tip of the leaf blade is acuminate (tapers to a long, thin point)
    • the tip of the leaf blade is obtuse (bluntly pointed)
    Leaf blade veins
    the lateral veins are parallel or slightly arched in the direction of the tip
    Leaf blade width
    7–120 mm
    Leaf stalk length
    Up to 600 mm
    Leaf type
    the leaves are simple (lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets
    Leaflet number
    0
    Stipule twining
    the stipules are not twining
    Stipules
    this plant has stipules
  • Place
    Habitat
    aquatic
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • in lakes or ponds
    • in rivers or streams
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the leaves have no particular smell
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Flowering stem growth form
    the flowering stem is held upright
    Flowering stem interior
    the flowering stem is solid
    Flowering stem leaves
    there is at least one fully-formed leaf on the flowering stem
    Stem hairs
    the stem is nearly or completely hairless

Wetland Status

Occurs only in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: OBL)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

Yes

Synonyms

  • Narukila cordata (L.) Nieuwl.
  • Pontederia cordata L. var. angustifolia (Pursh) Torr. & Ell.
  • Pontederia cordata L. var. lanceolata (Nutt.) Griseb.
  • Pontederia lanceolata Nutt.
  • Unisema cordata (L.) Farw.

Genus

Pontederia

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