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Common Name: Pickerel Weed
Photograph by: Lady-bug
Photograph by: Lady-bug
It can cover quite large areas of land
Photograph by: PookieFugglestein
Creative Commons Zero, Public Domain Dedication
Photograph by: Mike_tn
Pontederia cordata is a perennial plant that can grow up to 0.75 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine
Eastern N. America - Nova Scotia to Florida andTexas. A garden escape occ naturalized in Britain[
Marshes and borders of muddy ponds[
A water or bog garden plant, it requires a rich soil[
] and prefers growing in water 15 - 30 cm deep[
Plants are hardy to about -25°c[
A very ornamental plant, it forms spreading patches by means of a thick creeping rhizome[
There is a species of bee (Dufourea novae-angliae) which visits this plant for nectar and pollen and does not visit any other species of plant[
The reproductive biology of Pontederia cordata has been well studied. It is a tristylous species, and most populations contain all three forms. At least some degree of self-incompatibility exists, being strongest with the short-style forms and weakest with the midstyle forms[
Seed - raw, cooked like rice or dried and ground into a powder[
]. A very acceptable nutty flavour and texture when raw, they are said to be excellent if the seed is lightly roasted in an oven[
Young leafstalks - raw or cooked[
The whole plant is edible cooked or raw[
]. It can be added to salads, cooked like spinach or added to soups[
An infusion of the plant has been used as a contraceptive[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in pots standing in 2cm of water in a cold frame. Cover the seed lightly with silver sand. Submerse in 3cm depth of water after the seedlings emerge[
]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in water in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Division is best in mid spring but it can be done at almost any time of the year[
]. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.