Heteranthera multiflora (Griseb.) C.N. Horn

Bouquet Mud Plantain

Heteranthera multiflora plant

Family - Pontederiaceae

Stem - Creeping, with well-separated nodes.


Heteranthera_multiflora_stem2Stem and plant.

Leaves - Dimorphic. Seedling leaves linear. Main season leaves long-petiolate. Blades to 5 cm, often wider than long, reniform to orbicular, deeply cordate at base, tips broadly rounded, glabrous.


Heteranthera_multiflora_leafLeaf abaxial.

Inflorescences - Produced on specialized flowering stems, sessile, exserted up to 3x spathe length.


Flowers - Perianth of 6 tepals, zygomorphic, purple (rarely white), with tube to 12 mm long, lobes to 6 mm long. Upper 5 tepals clustered, spreading to ascending in fanlike array. Central erect tepal deeper purple at base, with two pale yellow spots. Lower tepal pendent, narrower than others. Stamens 3, unequal, with filaments densely pubescent with purple hairs.


Flowering - July - October.

Habitat - Open mud, shallow water, agricultural ditches.

Origin - Native to the U.S.

Other info. - This plant is fairly uncommon in Missouri, being reported from a few widely scattered locations. Like all of the Heterantheras, it grows in very wet places. It can be distinguished from other members of the genus by having a distinct stem, a multi-flowered inflorescence, and purple hairs on the stamen filaments.

Photographs taken at Otter Slough Conservation Area, Stoddard County, MO, 8-13-2015, near Neelyville, Butler County, MO, 8-27-2015, and near I-70 and Missouri River, St. Louis County, MO, 9-7-2017 (SRTurner).