|Species:||Nymphoides peltata (S. Gmelin.) Kuntze, yellow floating heart, water fringe|
floating-heart is a perennial, waterlily-like plant that carpets
the water surface with long-stalked, heart-shaped leaves. The showy
five-petaled yellow flowers occur on long stalks and rise a few inches
above the water surface. Yellow floating-heart is a native of Europe
and has been introduced in Washington, particularly along the Spokane
River near Spokane.
The heart-shaped leaves are 3 to 10 cm across and
alternately arranged on the stems or oppositely-arranged on the flower
stalks. The leaves float on the water surface, have slightly wavy
margins, and frequently have purplish undersides.
Stem: The rope-like stem grows partly underground or along the sediment surface (stolons).
Flower: Two to five flowers arise from erect flower stalks. The bright yellow flowers are 3-4 cm in diameter. Each flower has five petals that are arranged like the spokes of a wheel. Each petal has a distinctive fringe along the edges.
Fruit: The fruit is a long beaked capsule (to 2.5 cm) that splits on one side. One fruit is produced from each flower. Each fruit contains few to many smooth, shiny seeds with wing-like margins.
Root: Short, thick clusters of roots originate from modified stems (rhizomes) growing partly or completely below the sediment.
Propagation: Yellow floating heart spreads by water dispersed seeds and stolons. Broken-off leaves with part of a stem will also form new plants.
Importance of plant: Yellow floating-heart is a popular water garden plant, but a potential weed when introduced to the wild.
Distribution: Native to Eurasia, the Mediterranean area, and introduced to North America.
Habitat: Slow-moving rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and ponds.
May be confused with: Spatterdocks (Nuphar), which have much larger leaves, and cup-like flowers without fringed petals. Water shield (Brasenia schreberi) which has small oval floating leaves often with a jelly-like covering on the undersides, and small purple flowers. Also other species of Nymphoides (N. aquatica and N. cordatum), which are be sold as ornamental plants.
Photographs: Nymphoides peltata closeup of flower, mat in Lake Spokane
Line Drawings: Nymphoides peltata
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