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Water Shield - Brasenia schreberi
Family: Cabombaceae

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Description

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.

Interesting facts

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


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