Scientific Name: Brasenia schreberi

Common Name: watershield

Synonyms: Brasenia peltata

Leaves: Alternate, floating, oval to elliptic in outline, and approximately 4 1/2 inches long and 2 1/2 inches wide. Leaves are green and shiny on the upper surface and purple on the lower surface. The undersides of the leaves are covered with a thick, jelly-like substance. Leaves occur on petioles that range from 4 to 12 inches in length.

Identifying Characteristics: Aquatic floating perennial from rhizomes with distinctive purple stems and leaf undersurfaces. All submerged portions of the plant are also covered in a jelly-like substance. Primarily a weed of poorly-managed lakes or ponds that most commonly occurs in water up to about 5 feet deep. Rooted, floating plants with oval leaves that are green on the upper surface and purple on the lower surface. Additionally, the jelly-like material that covers all submerged portions of the plant helps to distinguish this weed from most other aquatic weeds.

Flower Seed Head: Small (10 to 15 mm in diameter), emersed, purple, and occur on single stalks that open at the water surface. Flowers consist of 3 to 4 sepals and petals and 12 to 36 stamens.

Seed Fruit: Club-shaped, leathery, fruit containing 1 or 2 seeds.

Where Found: Watershield is found in the eastern United States from Florida to Canada, and also in Oregon and California.

  • Life cycle: perennial

  • Plant type: Herb

  • Plant family: Cabombaceae