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Pontederia cordata

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

General Landscape Uses: Water gardens and along pond and lake edges.

Availability: Native plant nurseries.

Description: Medium to large herbaceous wildflower.

Dimensions: Typically 2-4 feet in height. Usually taller than broad, but spreading and forming large patches.

Growth Rate: Fast.

Range: Widespread in eastern and central North America south to Miami-Dade County and the Monroe County mainland; West Indies, Mexico, Central America and South America. Also collected on Big Pine Key in the Monroe County Keys, but probably introduced there.

Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

Habitats: Marshes, sloughs and swamps.

Soils: Wet, poorly-drained organic soils.

Nutritional Requirements: High; requires rich organic soils for optimal growth.

Salt Water Tolerance: Low; does not tolerate flooding by salt or brackish water.

Salt Wind Tolerance: Low; salt wind may burn the leaves.

Drought Tolerance: Low; requires moist to wet soils and is intolerant of long periods of drought.

Light Requirements: Full sun.

Flower Color: Purple.

Flower Characteristics: Showy.

Flowering Season: Spring-summer.

Fruit: Inconspicuous urticle.

Wildlife and Ecology: Provides food for wildlife. Nectar source for many butterflies including: Aaron's skipper (Poanes aaroni), Berry's skipper (Euphyes berryi), Brazilian skipper (Calpodes ethlius), byssus skipper (Problema byssus), clouded skipper (Lerema accius), Delaware skipper (Anatrytone logan), dotted skipper (Hesperia attalus), fiery skipper (Hylephila phyleus), Meske's skipper (Hesperia meskei), ocola skipper (Panoquina ocola), Palatka skipper (Euphyes pilatka), palmetto skipper (Euphyes arpa), southern broken-dash (Wallengrenia otho), twin-spot skipper (Oligoria maculata) and whirlabout (Polites vibex). Other wildlife eat the fruits.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from seed and division.

Comments: Check out this YouTube video produced by Palm Beach County Parks & Recreation.

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Copyright by: Susan Trammell

Copyright by: Steven W. Woodmansee

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Other data on Pontederia cordata available from:

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