Shield - Brasenia schreberi
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Water-shield grows rooted and has rhizomes. Submersed parts of the plant
are heavily covered with a mucilaginous jelly produced from secreting
glands. Juvenile plants are submersed; the adults usually have floating
leaves. The leaves are centrally peltate, floating, alternate, with very
long petioles. Leaf blades are 3.5 to 11 cm long, broadly elliptical,
rounded at both ends, the margins entire. Leaf blades are smooth on the
upper surface and purple beneath. Flowers are solitary and axillary, on
stout stalks up to 15 cm long and, at maturity, are above the surface
of the water. Flowers are purple.
Brasenia grows in lakes, ponds, and slow streams. The rhizomes
produce numerous plants from a given "mother plant". The fruits
are nutlike with 1 or 2 seeds, dispersed by water and perhaps animals;
they are capable of germinating to form new plants. Plants produce specialized
buds (turions) which break from the stem and are moved by water flow.
In shallow ponds and lakes, water shield may be the dominant species,
and its leaves may cover the entire water surface. Once established in
an area, growth of other plants may well be inhibited by shading effects
of the densely packed floating leaves. Very dense populations of water
shield can impede small boat navigation and restrict recreational use
(Tarver et al. 1986, Hoyer et al. 1996). The plants are reported to have
antibacterial, antialgal activity and to be allelopathic to lettuce seedlings.
Links to more information
Website, video, and graphics by Rob Nelson
For more information on this plant or management please contact US Army Corp of Engineers
Water Shield Video
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