Heteranthera limosa (Sw.) Willd.

Mud Plantain


CC = 5
CW = -5
MOC = 33

© SRTurner

Family - Pontederiaceae

Habit - Annual forb.

Stems - Short, not creeping.

Leaves - Seedling leaves linear. Later emergent leaves long-petiolate. Blades to 5 cm, oblong to ovate, acute or truncate at base, glabrous.

Heteranthera_limosa_leaves.jpg Leaves.

© SRTurner

Inflorescence - Flowers borne singly from sheathing spathe on specialized flowering stems.

Heteranthera_limosa_bract2.jpg Spathe and flower.

© SRTurner

Flowers - Perianth zygomorphic, purple to white, with elongate tube to 45 mm, lobes to 16 mm. Perianth usually with 3 ascending lobes, 2 spreading lobes, 1 pendent lobe. Upper lobes with yellow spots at base. Stamens 3, subequal, with glandular-hairy filaments. Ovary 1, with 3 locules. Style 1.

Heteranthera_limosa_perianth.jpg Perianth.

© SRTurner

Heteranthera_limosa_perianth2.jpg Perianth.

© SRTurner

Heteranthera_limosa_perianth3.jpg Perianth.

© SRTurner

Heteranthera_limosa_anthers.jpg Dimorphic anthers.

© DETenaglia

Fruits - Slender, thin-walled capsules to 2 cm long. Seeds numerous, 0.5-1.5 mm long, with 8-22 longitudinal ribs.

Heteranthera_limosa_fruit.jpg Immature fruit.

© SRTurner

Heteranthera_limosa_seeds.jpg Seeds.

© SRTurner

Flowering - June - October.

Habitat - Mud flats or shallow water.

Lookalikes - Other members of the Heteranthera genus, especially H. rotundifolia.

Origin - Native to the U.S.

Other info. - This pretty species is found scattered across much of the state, in open areas of mud or shallow water. It can look similar to other members of the genus, and is most readily distinguished by having leaves with truncate bases (not cordate), flowers borne singly from the spathe, and long (4 cm) perianth tubes. The perianth color varies considerably, from very pale to dark blue.

Photographs taken at Busch Wildlife Area, St. Charles County, MO, 7-18-2013; Otter Slough Conservation Area, Stoddard County, MO, 8-13-2015; and near the Augusta Katy trailhead, St. Charles County, MO, 8-3-2015 and 9-29-2019 (SRTurner).