Pontederia cordata L.
Pickerelweed, Pickerel rush
Pontederiaceae (Pickerelweed Family)
Synonym(s): Pontederia cordata var. angustifolia, Pontederia cordata var. lanceolata, Pontederia cordata var. lancifolia, Pontederia lanceolata
USDA Symbol: poco14
The large pickerelweed plant produces 1 spike of small flowers. The plant is often 3 feet tall, with long, heart-shaped leaves. The flower stem rises above the leaves except 1 leaf that grows behind the flowers. The deep blue flowers are on a spike about 6 inches long and bloom in succession from the bottom up, prolonging the flowering period for several days.
This emergent aquatic, with its leaves and flowers above water and portions of the stem under water, is found typically in shallow, quiet water. The seeds can be eaten like nuts and the young leaf-stalks cooked as greens. Deer also feed on these plants. The common name suggests that this plant, as well as the fish known as pickerel, occupy the same habitat.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Size Notes: 1-3
Size Class: 1-3 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: NB , NS , ON , PE , QC
Native Distribution: Ontario to Nova Scotia and New England; south to northern Florida; west to Missouri and Oklahoma; north to Minnesota.
Native Habitat: In marshes and ditches in shallow water of east Texas. Grows in mud, up to a foot under water.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay, Clay Loam, Mud
Conditions Comments: A true pond plant, pickerelweed is easy to grow so long as it does not dry out. The hyacinth-like flowers continue to bloom through the summer. Regularly divide the plant to keep it from growing too large. Pickerelweed provides nectar for bees and butterflies. Good for wetland gardens and habitat.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Water garden, Bog or pond area
Use Wildlife: Seeds eaten by waterfowl. Attracts dragonflies.
Use Food: Pickerelweed has often been used for food. Each fruit contains a nutritious, starchy seed that can be eaten straight from the plant or dried and added to granola and other cereals. The dried seeds can also be boiled, roasted to improve flavour or ground into flour. The young leaves have sometimes been eaten raw in salads or boiled and served with butter. (Kershaw)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Deer Resistant: Minimal
PropagationCommercially Avail: yes
Find Seed or Plants
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Suppliers DirectoryAccording to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery - Orefield, PA
Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Native Plant Nursery - Sanibel, FL
Sunshine Farm & Gardens - Renick, WV
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
BibliographyBibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 765 - McMillen's Texas Gardening: Wildflowers (1998) Howard, D.
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
* The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Pontederia cordata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Pontederia cordata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Pontederia cordata
MetadataRecord Modified: 2013-09-12
Research By: TWC Staff