An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Watershield Flowering

7-29-15  watershield 008Watershield is a perennial aquatic plant whose bright green, shield-shaped leaves float on the surface of shallow water in lakes and beaver ponds. Its small purple flowers bloom from June through September, with each individual flower only lasting two days. One the first day, the female flower parts (stigma, style, ovary) are mature. After receding into the water overnight, the flower re-emerges with mature male flower parts (stamens, filaments, anthers). The anthers burst open, releasing pollen to the wind, and the flower is then withdrawn below the water where the fruit develops.

The horizontal rhizomes, or stems, of Watershield, as well as the undersides of the leaves and developing buds, are covered with a thick, jelly-like slime. Botanists theorize that it may deter snails from grazing on these plants. Watershield secretes a number of chemicals that kill or inhibit growth of a wide range of bacteria, algae, and other plants.

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5 responses

  1. Bill On The Hill...

    Hi Mary… Is there any relationship here with respect to pond lilies. The shield shaped leaves on this plant look similar & it’s preference for shallow water seems similar to the pond lily also.
    BF…

    July 31, 2015 at 8:15 am

    • drmax

      I was curious about that, too, so I did a little research. They are the same Order, but different Family, Genus and Species. The pond lily has a split in the leaf from the edge to the point where the stem attaches. Also, the pond lily leaves are larger and the stem is thicker and more rigid.

      July 31, 2015 at 10:33 am

      • Took the words right out of my mouth! Thanks, Bill.

        July 31, 2015 at 10:41 am

  2. Kathie Fiveash

    Is watershield common? I can’t remember ever seeing these flowers.

    July 31, 2015 at 1:32 pm

  3. cassie

    that’s so cool. Thank you

    August 1, 2015 at 6:27 am

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