A Water Lily for the Wild Flower Garden
Our wild flower for the wild flower garden today is actually best for the water garden. This wildflower is a member of the water lily family and is best found by the scientific name Brasenia schreberi if you should wish to do more research. It is found in most states of the US. Fact is, it is easier to list the states where it does NOT appear rather than list those where it does appear. These following states do not enjoy this wildflower: Hawaii, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, Nebraska and North Dakota. The following is the listing for the watershield wild flower as listed in our compendium.
WATER-SHIELD or WATER TARGET
(Brasenia purpurea; B. peltata of Gray) Water lily family
Flowers – Small, dull purplish, about 1/2 in. across, on stout footstalks from axils of upper leaves; 3 narrow sepals and petals; stamens 12 to 18; pistils 4 to 18, forming 1 to 3-seeded pods.
Stem: From submerged rootstock; slender, branching, several feet long, covered with clear jelly, as are footstalks and lower leaf surfaces.
Leaves: On long petioles attached to center of underside of leaf, floating or rising, oval to roundish, 2 to 4 in. long, 1 1/2 to 2 in. wide.
Preferred Habitat – Still, rather deep water of ponds and slow streams.
Flowering Season – All summer.
Distribution – Parts of Asia, Africa, and Australia, Nova Scotia to Cuba, and westward from California to Puget Sound.
Of this pretty water plant Dr. Abbott says, in “Wasteland Wanderings”: “I gathered a number of floating, delicate leaves, and endeavored to secure the entire stem also; but this was too difficult a task for an August afternoon. The under side of the stem and leaf are purplish brown and were covered with translucent jelly, embedded in which were millions of what I took to be insects’ eggs. They certainly had that appearance. I was far more interested to find that, usually, beneath each leaf there was hiding a little pike. The largest was not two inches in length. When disturbed, they swam a few inches, and seemed wholly ‘at sea’ if there was not another leaf near by to afford them shelter.”