Pontederia cordata (Pickerelweed)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Pontederiaceae (Water Hyacinth)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:sun; marshes, sheltered shores, quiet shallow water
Bloom season:June - September
Plant height:12 to 40 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: OBL MW: OBL NCNE: OBL
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: irregular Flower shape: tubular Cluster type: spike

[photo of flowers] A single dense floral spike 2 to 6 inches long of hairy ½-inch blue-violet flowers, on a stout, sheathed stalk. Individual flowers are tubular with 3 shallow lobes on the upper lip and 3 deeper lobes on the lower lip. The upper lip has 2 yellow eyespots in the middle. 3 long stamens extend beyond tube with 3 more retained deeper in the tube with the style deeper yet and hidden from view.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Firm arrowhead shaped leaves, 2 to 10 inches long and 1 to 6 inches wide, often narrowing somewhat towards rounded basal lobes and tapering to a rounded tip. Long leaf stalks are attached to the rootstock submerged in the muddy soil. Leaf margins and surface are smooth and waxy in appearance, the surface covered in many fine parallel veins.


While not as widely encountered as many of Minnesota's pond plants, Pickerelweed stands out when caught in full bloom. This species is often offered by aquatic garden suppliers—a non-invasive one for a change.

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More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk, taken in Savanna Portage SP in Aitkin county.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Monica - Chanhassen
on: 2016-09-03 10:56:21

I've lived next to a wetland in Chanhassen for 6 years, and 2016 is the first time I've seen this lovely purple bloom. They're blooming around town and near Paisley Park; it feels like nature's tribute to Prince.

Posted by: Timothy Johnson - Hennepin County
on: 2019-07-22 16:06:16

Nice patches in the wetland next to the board walk near Wirth Lake beach. Full bloom July 22.

Posted by: Susan Premo - Echo trail, jeanette lake
on: 2022-07-23 17:41:08

I'm pretty positive this is the one I'm looking at, never saw one before. My first thought was it reminds me of arum, the shape of the leaves. Beautiful!

Posted by: Chris Larson - Black Bay on Lake Vermilion
on: 2023-07-25 12:26:30

Saw several big patches of this in bloom along sheltered areas of the shoreline in Black Bay on Lake Vermilion. Lovely!

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