Make your own free website on

of the

By Sharon LaPlante
Pickerelweed, Pontederia cordata, is a native aquatic plant found in shallow ponds, streams, marshes, and wet ditches.

Pickerelweed has a clump forming habit and spreads by short rhizomes. The clumps grow larger each year and colonize, but it is not considered an aggressive grower.

It attains a height of approximately three feet above the water, or mud. Its arrowhead shaped leaves grow on long, fleshy stalks, and are three to seven inches in length. The foliage becomes dormant in the winter. Young unfurled leaves are edible and can be added to salads or boiled for ten minutes and served with butter.

Its blooms, which grow on conspicuous spikes, appear in late spring and continue blooming until early fall. The flower spikes grow on fleshy stems and are six inches in length, purple-blue, and occasionally white. The blooms provide nectar for a number of insects including bees, wasps, and butterflies.

The red, sticky fruit is considered an important wildlife food and is eaten by ducks and other animals. Each fruit contains a single starchy seed which, in addition to the leaves, is edible. The seeds are very nutritious and can be eaten out of hand, dried, or added to cereals. They can also be roasted and ground into flour.

Pickerelweed is easy to propagate through root division and can be collected and divided throughout the year. Many native plant nurseries in our area carry this beautiful aquatic plant.

Peterson, Lee A. Peterson Field Guides: Edible Plants. Houghton Mifflin: Boston 1977 (illustration)

Taylor, Walter Kingsley. The Guide to Florida Wildflowers. Taylor Publishing: Dallas, TX 1992

Tobe, Ph.D., John D. et al. Florida Wetland Plants: An Identification Manual. IFAS Publications: Gainesville, FL. 1998

Wasowski, Sally. Gardening with Native Plants of the South. Taylor Publishing: Dallas, TX 1994

E-mail us if you have comments, suggestions or questions.

Return to the Main Page

Return to Articles Page

This site designed by
Randi Kuhne Web Publishing and Design