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Pontederia cordata, Pickerelweed, is a common sight in quiet fresh water areas. Shallow water is the habitat for this beautiful species. The native forms are usually shades of blue-purple. Pontederia cordata flowers from summer to fall, with the flower stalks reaching to about 2 feet above the water. Pickerelweed provides food and shelter for many animals. Nectar feeding insects visit the flowers and fish lurk in the shade of the foliage. Small fish find protection in the thicker areas of Pickerelweed while larger predatory fish, like Bass and Pickerel hide in the more open edges, waiting to ambush prey. Pickerelweed is excellent for absorbing nutrients from water and improving water clarity. For maximum nutrient removal, the top growth can be cut off and removed (composted) before the plants die back in the fall. This is a common species for bio-purification systems.
Pontederia cordata knows how to spread, and will happily colonize emergent aquatic settings. An emergent aquatic plant, Pontederia cordata prefers to grow in shallow water, around 6-12 in. of depth, where its foliage and flowers can emerge above water. Pontederia cordata’s bloom period lasts from June through October, which provides a constant sprinkle of charming purple panicle flowers all summer long. This plant provides a habitat for fish, like the northern pike, to live among its roots, and dragonflies to lay eggs around its stems. This is a highly attractive plant to many pollinators, and their seed is often eaten by wood ducks, deer, and muskrats.