Our native aquatic plants - page 1

Margin species

Sweet flag
(Acorus calamus)
 ©Janet Allen Sweet flag

One of the important functions this plant performs in the pond is that it serves as emergent (i.e. out of the water) vegetation, a necessity for the dragonfly and damselfly larvae. They climb up these leaves and emerge, leaving their exuvia (empty "shells") behind. Reason enough to have these plants!

More info from Wildflower Center

Sweet flag
(Acorus calamus)
 ©Janet Allen Sweetflag flower

Sweetflag is mainly a foliage plant, but it does have this unusual "flower."

Blue flag iris
(Iris versicolor)
 ©Janet Allen Blue flag iris

I first saw this plant many years ago in a marshy area at a local nature center, long before I became aware of native plants. Did someone plant it there? How could such a beautiful plant just be growing out there in the wild?

I first planted blue flag iris at the edge of our pond. They multiply quite well, so I tried planting some of the extras in a regular garden bed. They seem to be thriving, so I guess it's another case of a plant perhaps preferring a wet area, but still being able to grow in "regular" garden conditions.

When we first put in our pond, the garden center sold us Iris pseudocorus, a non-native invasive yellow iris. Though it was very pretty, when we discovered that it was a poor choice, we ripped it out.

Wildlife: Nectar for hummingbirds
More info from Wildflower Center

Soft rush
(Juncus effusus)
 ©Janet Allen Soft rush

The delicate brownish things are the "flowers" of the soft rush. It lends a nice aquatic-y feel to the pond.

Wildlife: Birds
More info from Wildflower Center

Bog bean
(Menyanthes trifoliata)
 ©Janet Allen Bog bean(Enlarge)

Bog bean is a nice plant with snowflake-like flowers in the spring. It's very prolific, and I pull out lots of it, confident that I'm not eradicating it.

In the enlarged photo, if you look closely you can see on the bottom of the leaf at the right edge of the photo the exuvia (discarded skeleton) of a dragonfly that climbed up this plant to emerge.

More info from Wildflower Center

Bog bean
(Menyanthes trifoliata)
 ©Janet Allen Bogbean flower

Bogbeans have a beautiful, fringed white flower in the spring.

Arrow arum
(Peltandra virginica)
 ©Janet Allen Arrow arum

The shape of the leaves lends it its name. It doesn't have any spectacular features, but is a pleasant plant. It hasn't spread at all, unlike most aquatic plants we have, though the clump has matured.

Wildlife: Berries for wood ducks, king rails
More info from Wildflower Center

Three-square rush
(Scirpus americanus)
 ©Janet Allen Three-square rush

These are really do have three-sided stems, and they have an interesting insect-like flower. But they spread pretty far and fast. They definitely lend a pond-like feel, but on balance, I doubt it's worth having them all over. And I doubt I can get rid of them—they don't pull up easily.

However, while they don't provide food or shelter for obvious creatures, I've read that the submerged portions of this plant provides habitat for many micro- and macro-invertebrates. In a natural setting, water fowl eat the seeds and nutria eat the rhizomes, but these aren't wildlife I have.

More info from Wildflower Center (aka Schoenoplectus americanus)