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Pontederia cordata

Pontederia cordata L.

Pontederia cordata L. var. angustifolia (Pursh) Torr. & Elliot

Pontederia cordata L. var. lanceolata (Nutt.) Griseb.

Pontederia cordata L. var. lancifolia (Muhl. ex Elliot) Torr.

Pontederia lanceolata Nutt.

Pickerelweed

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassLiliopsidaMonocots (plants with a single seed leaf); includes the lily family
SubclassLiliidaeIncludes lilies, orchids, and many others
OrderLilialesIncludes lilies, tulips, trilliums, greenbriars, and others
FamilyPontederiaceaeAquatic plants that are “heterostylous”—different members of the same species can have different-appearing flowers
GenusPontederiaFor Paduan botany professor Guilio Pontedera
Speciescordata“Heart-shaped”

About plant names...

Pickerelweed is a North American native plant that grows in shallow, quiet water. Pickerel (the fishes) are often found in the same habitat as this plant, presumably the reason for the plant’s name.

Identification: Plants reach 3' (91 cm) in height, some of this height submerged. It produces a spike of blue flowers about 6" (15 cm) long, the spike accompanied by a single leaf. Individual flowers are about ¼" (8.5 mm) long, blue-violet with two yellow spots. Leaves are up to 10" (25 cm) × 5" (12 cm), shaped like arrowheads.

Edibility: Young, partially unfurled leaves can be eaten in salads or cooked as greens. Seeds can be eaten like nuts, or dried and added to granola.

Online References:

Pontederia cordata at Illinois Wildflowers

Pontederia cordata at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Pontederia cordata on the Connecticut Botanical Society's Connecticut wildflowers site

Pontederia cordata at the Missouri Botanical Garden

Pontederia cordata on the Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Pontederia cordata on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Pontederia cordata at the University of Wisconsin's Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium

Pontederia cordata at the Island Creek Elementary School's Study of Northern Virginia Ecology

Pontederia cordata on FLORIDATA

Pontederia cordata on CalPhotos

Pontederia cordata on eFloras

References:

Peterson, Lee Allen, Peterson Field Guides: Edible Wild Plants of Eastern/Central North America, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1977, p. 136

Pontederia cordata (Pickerelweed)

7/18/2010 · Great Brook Farm State Park, Carlisle, MA
≈ 22 × 16" (56 × 41 cm)

Pontederia cordata (Pickerelweed)

8/1/2010 · Lake Messalonskee, Belgrade, ME · By Constance B. Kent

Pontederia cordata (Pickerelweed)

8/11/2009 · Townsend, MA ID is uncertain

Pontederia cordata (Pickerelweed)

7/18/2010 · Great Brook Farm State Park, Carlisle, MA
≈ 4 × 6" (10 × 15 cm)

Pontederia cordata description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 5 Oct 2016.

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Pontederia cordata (Pickerelweed)

7/18/2010 · Great Brook Farm State Park, Carlisle, MA
≈ 24 × 16" (62 × 41 cm)

Pontederia cordata (Pickerelweed)

7/18/2010 · Great Brook Farm State Park, Carlisle, MA
≈ 4 × 6" (11 × 14 cm)

Pontederia cordata (Pickerelweed)

8/7/2016 · Jeff Smith Trail, Jewett St., Pepperell, MA

Pontederia cordata (Pickerelweed)

8/1/2010 · Lake Messalonskee, Belgrade, ME · By Constance B. Kent

Pontederia cordata (Pickerelweed)

8/16/2016 · John Tinker Trail, Nashua River, Groton, MA

Pontederia cordata (Pickerelweed)

7/18/2010 · Great Brook Farm State Park, Carlisle, MA
≈ 10 × 14" (24 × 34 cm)

Range: Zones 4-11:

About this map...