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Brasenia schreberi

Phonetic Spelling
brah-SEE-nee-uh shre-BER-ee
Description

Water Shield is an herbaceous perennial, aquatic, native plant with long, slender, branching stems. It resembles water lilies (Nymphaeaceae) because both are found submerged or floating on the water's surface. Water Shield, in particular, is found in nature on ponds, lakes, and sluggish streams throughout the world. It has creeping, thin rhizomes rooted in the mud at the bottom of ponds, floating leaves, and grows in a wide range of water depths (1 inch to 6 feet). It does best on the water edge in 8 to 10 inches of water, but with the roots planted in the mud of more shallow waters. The young leaf tips, which are coated with a thick transparent mucilage, are eaten in salad with vinegar, sake and soy sauce, or added to soups as a thickener. The plant is considered a delicacy in Japan where it is often bottled and sold in local markets.

The species name, schreberi, is for Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber, a German botanist and student of Linnaeus in the 18th century.

Water Shield has properties that inhibit the growth of other plants nearby. Thus, the plant can become dominant and provide a natural control of invasive water weeds. Water Shield is pollinated by the wind in a very unusual process. Individual flowers are open for a two-day period. On the first day the flower is open it is functionally female, with the stigmas receptive to pollen. At the end of the first day the flower is drawn below the water’s surface. On the second day the flower again extends above the water’s surface and the anthers release their pollen. The flower is then pulled below the water’s surface again and the fruit develop.

Diseases, Insect Pests. and Other Plant Problems:

No known diseases or insect pests. Water Shield is often considered a pest as its dense growth interferes with fishing, swimming, and boating.

 

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#purple#water garden#purple flowers#red flowers#food source wildlife#NC native#rhizomes#water plant#food source summer#food source fall#Coastal OBL#Piedmont Mountains OBL#food source hard mast fruit#Audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#purple#water garden#purple flowers#red flowers#food source wildlife#NC native#rhizomes#water plant#food source summer#food source fall#Coastal OBL#Piedmont Mountains OBL#food source hard mast fruit#Audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Brasenia
    Species:
    schreberi
    Family:
    Cabombaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Africa, Temperate and Subtropical Asia, East Australia, America
    Distribution:
    North America from Nova Scotia to Manitoba and Nebraska, south to Florida, Texas and Mexico.
    Wildlife Value:
    The fruit are eaten by water fowl.
    Edibility:
    Leaves are eaten in salad or used as a thickener in soups.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Water Plant
    Habit/Form:
    Creeping
    Multi-stemmed
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Drainage:
    Frequent Standing Water
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Description:
    Each fertilized pistil develops into a 1 or 2 seeded hard, ellipsoid or fusiform fruit. The style persists on the fruit. The fruit does not split open to release the seed.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Solitary
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    2-3 rays/petals
    Colored Sepals
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    This plant has purple to red, 3-petaled, 1/2 inch flowers on the water surface. Flowers close at night. The flowers have sepals and petals that are similar to each other.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Leaf Feel:
    Slippery
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    This plant has floating oval leaves (2 1/2 inches long and half as wide) borne on long petioles. The underside of leaves has a gelatinous coating. The Leaves are oval to elliptic in shape, green above, often purple beneath, long-stemmed, and have the stalk or petiole attached to the lower surface instead of the base or edge.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Underside of leaf and stem have a gel-like coating.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Pond
    Landscape Theme:
    Water Garden