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Plant Description


Brasenia schreberi J.F. Gmelin

En: purple wendock, watershield
Fr: brasénie de Schreber

Cabombaceae (Watershield Family)

Click on thumbnail to see larger image.
Brasenia schreberiflpl Brasenia schreberilvs Brasenia schreberiflm Brasenia schreberiflf


General: An aquatic, perennial forb, growing from a slender, branched, creeping rhizome. The under surface of the leaves and long petioles are heavily coated with mucilage, which may deter herbivory.

Leaves: Floating, the long petiole attached to the centre of the lower surface (peltate), blade elliptic, to 13.5 cm long and 8 cm wide, margins entire; the undersurface purplish and coated with mucilage.

Flowers: Bisexual; solitary and terminal, to 2 cm across, borne at or just above the water surface; tepals 6, dull red to purple, lanceolate to narrowly ovate, to 1.6 cm long, recurved. Stamens 12-36; pistils 4-18, stigmas linear, ovary superior. Water shield is protogynous, which means that the pistils are receptive and mature before the stamens begin to expand. Blooming from July through September.

Fruit: Indehiscent, follicle-like, to 1 cm long, with 1-2 ovoid seeds, to 4 mm long and 3 mm wide. The fruit matures under water and seeds are released as the fruit decays.

Habitat and Range: Found in calm, quiet waters of lakes, ponds, and rivers. Occurring throughout eastern North America, with a disjunct distribution west of the Rocky Mountains. Watershield occurs across the north shore of Lake Superior to the Kenora region.

Internet Images: The Brasenia schreberi page from Missouriplants.com

– written by Derek Goertz

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