(Alisma Plantago-aquatica) Water-plantain family

Flowers - Very small and numerous, white, or pale pink, whorled

in bracted clusters forming a large, loose panicle 6 to 15 in.

long on a usually solitary scape 1/2 to 3 ft. high. Calyx of 3

sepals corolla of 3 deciduous petals; 6 or more stamens; many

carpels in a ring on a small flat receptacle. Leaves: Erect or

floating, oblong or ovate, with several ribs, or lance-shaped or

grass-like, petioled, all from root.

Perferred Habitat - Shallow water, mud, marshes.

Flowering Season - June-September.

Distribution - North America, Europe, Asia.

Unlike its far more showy, decorative cousin the arrow-head, this

wee-blossomed plant, whose misty white panicles rise with

compensating generosity the world around, bears only perfect,

regular flowers. Twelve infinitesimal drops of nectar, secreted

in a fleshy ring around the center, are eagerly sought by flies.

As the anthers point obliquely outward and away from the stigmas,

an incoming fly, bearing pollen on his under side, usually

alights in the center, and leaves some of the vitalizing dust

just where it is most needed. But a "fly starting from a petal,"

says Muller, "usually applies its tongue to the nectar-drops one

by one, and after each it strokes an anther with its labellae; in

so doing it may bring various parts of its body in contact with

the anthers. As a rule, however, the parts which come in contact

with the anthers are not those which come in contact with the

stigmas in the same flower." Any plant that lives in shallow

water, which may dry up as summer advances, is under special

necessity to produce an extra quantity of cross-fertilized seed

to guard against extinction during drought. For the same reason

it bears several kinds of leaves adapted to its environment:

broad ones that spread their surfaces to the sunshine, and long

grass-like ones to glide through currents of water that would

tear those of any other shape. What diversity of leaf-form and

structure we meet daily, and yet how very little does the wisest

man of science understand of the reasons underlying such

marvellous adaptability!

WATER ARUM MARSH CALLA WHITE ALDER SWEET PEPPERBUSH ALDERLEAVED CLETHRA facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail