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Name derivation:

Named in honor of the Italian botanist Giulio Pontedera (by Linneaus).


Pontederia Linneaus

Order Commelinales;  Family Pontederiaceae.



Leaves are large and waxy, stems succulent, and roots are fibrous.Rhizomes produce new plants vegetatively, allowing rapid spread.  Up to 1 m tall above water.

Flowers are blue or white, controlled by two alleles at one locus, with blue completely dominant (Getty and Wofford 2007).  They are tristylous with three morphs.  One morph has long styles and short anthers, another has short styles and long anthers, and the third has styles and anthers of intermediate length.  This is thought to discourage self-pollination and encourage cross-pollination in P. sagittata (Scribailo and Barrett 1991).


Similar genera:



Rooted in saturated mud or sediments in shallow water.  Endemic to the ‘New World’ from Canada to Argentina.  Globally spread; considered invasive in many areas.



Gettys, L.A. and D.S. Wofford  2007.  Inheritance of flower color in pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata L.).  Journal of Heredity 98(6):629-632.

Scribailo, R.W., and S.C.H. Barrett  1991.  Pollen-pistil interactions in tristylous Pontederia sagittata (Pontederiaceae).  I.  Floral heteromorphism and structural features of the pollen tube pathway.  American Journal of Botany 78(12):1643-1661.  online