Sunday, August 11, 2019

Pickerelweed Underwater

Pickerelweed is a familiar sight in July, covering the edges of ponds with purple. Colonies of pickerelweed provide a hiding place for fish, frogs, salamanders, and of course dragonflies, or as my friend from down south calls them, mosquito-hawks. 

Pickerelweed has a dense root system and stems which protect shorelines from erosion. This root system allows the colony to spread rapidly, but there is another way that pickerelweed spreads.

At the beginning of August, just about the time that arrowhead (duck potato, katniss, swamp potato, or wapatoo) starts to bloom, 

arrowhead (duck potato, katniss, swamp potato, or wapatoo)

the petals fall from the pickerelweed flowers and the stalks sink below the water. This probably helps protect the seeds from birds, but later on the seed heads fall off. Wind, waves, and currents roll the seed heads away to start new colonies.

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