Scientific name

Pontederia L.

Common names

pickerel weed



Could be confused with

Monochoria, Limnocharis, Thalia

Native distribution


Species commonly cultivated

Pontederia cordata L. (eastern North America and Central America)

P. rotundifolia (L.) Castellanos (Central and South America)

Adventive distribution

Australia, Europe, Africa, western North America

Weed status

not usually weedy


emergent broad leaved rosette plant

Brief description

Perennial. Stems floating, creeping or ascending (mature plants usually emergent), stoloniferous or rhizomatous, roots produced at nodes. Leaves submerged, floating or emergent, alternate, in compact rosettes, petiolate or sessile; leaf blade linear to elliptic or ovate, venation parallel; base sagittate to cordate. Inflorescence an elongate or globose, prostrate or erect spike, subtended by 2 spathes; spathes dissimilar: upper scale-like, lower leaf-like. Tubular perianth of 6 tepals in 2 whorls of 3, tubular, 2-lipped, blue to purple; median inner lobe larger than rest, often with yellow fleck. Seeds with spiny ridges. Dispersal by seed or stem fragments.

Natural habitat

swamps, rivers, lakes, and streams

Additional comments

Pontederia (including Reussia Endler) contains approximately 7 species, with P. cordata being most commonly available. Several varieties of P. cordata are cultivated.