|Florida Nature: Native Emersed Plants|
Emersed plants are plants that grow out of the water (or during
low-water times, in exposed sediments). They are rooted to the bottom,
but their stems, leaves and flowers are above the water
American Lotus (Nelumbo lutea)- The grandiose American lotus is an emersed native. Its leaves may be emersed above the water or floating on it. The plant can be found in muddy, shallow waters such as lake margins, or in water as deep as six feet. Two species of Nelumbo occur in Florida. American lotus can be found in California and throughout the eastern half of US and Canada. This large plant is very easy to identify. Its flowers are extremely large, typically six inches wide. Flowers are luminescent yellow with many petals and stamens. American lotus leaves are circular, and do not have a "cut", as do water lily leaves. The lotus leaf is on a long, stiff stalk that is connected to the leaf at the very center of the leaf, umbrella-like. American lotus seedpods are sold as ornamental items
Bog Buttons (Lachnocaulon)- Because of their many white-to-gray button-like heads, the smallish bog buttons are easily discovered when searching for them along wet roadsides. There are five species of Lachnocaulon in Florida. Bog buttons are located throughout the southern and southwestern parts of the US, including Florida. Bog Buttons have dark thin branched stems. It's leaf blades are grass-like and arranged in spiral clusters with narrow, tapering, and growing to two inches in length. Bog Buttons have inflorescences button-like heads, that are white to gray, at the tips of long stems, comprised of many tiny, densely-clustered whitish-to-grayish flowers.
Cat-tails (Typha)- Most Typha species in Florida are native and they often grow to cover large areas of wetlands, lakes and rivers. They are among the most common of all aquatic and wetland plants anywhere. Cat-tails get their name from their brown cylindrical flower spikes which can be more than one foot long. Cat-tails provide protective cover and nesting areas for animals and birds. Cat Tails occur almost always under natural conditions in wetlands. Cat-tails have rhizomes extensive, fleshy; stems that can grow to nine feet. They have tall leaf blades that are strap-like, stiff, and rounded on the back. Cat tail leaves spiral on the top half, and are sheathed together at the base to appear "flattened". Cat tails are very densely packed with tiny flowers; male flowers in the top clusterand female flowers in the bottom cluster.
Duck Potato (Sagittaria lancifolia)- Duck potato is an emersed plant. It's large leaves and conspicuous flowers make it easy to find in the wild. It grows commonly in swamps, ditches, lakes, and stream margins. Duck potato gets its name from its potato-like, underground corms that sometimes form. Duck potato has large, firm, lance-shaped leaves, which are typically four inches wide and up to two feet long. The leaf base tapers to the stem. The leaves grow as a fan-like rosette from underground rhizomes. Duck potato flowers are typical sagittaria flowers: showy and white, with three petals. Flowers are extended on thick stalks that are often a foot or more above the leaves.
Florida Water Cress (Rorippa floridana)- Florida Water Cress is found only in Florida. It is one of five water cresses in the state and one of about 30 in the U.S. and Canada. Florida water cress is frequently found growing in spring runs and blackwater swamps from the peninsula to the central panhandle to north central Florida. Florida water cress blooms in the spring. Watercress is a perennial plant grown for the pungent leaves and young stems which are widely used for garnishing and in salads. The smooth compound leaves have three to a dozen nearly round one inch-wide leaflets. Leaves and stems are partially submerged during growth.
Golden Canna (Canna flaccida)- Golden Canna is a showy, emersed native plant which typically grows to four feet tall. Golden canna is frequently found in small stands at the edges of marshes, swamps, ponds and lakes from the peninsula west to the central panhandle of Florida. It has been hybridized and may also be found in household gardens. There are two species of Canna in Florida. Golden Canna flowers are showy yellow, while Hybrid Canna has flowers tinged with orange and red. The three-inch-long flowers grow in clusters at the tops of long stalks. Golden canna leaves attach in a spiral along the stem. The leaf shape is oblong to elliptic, with tapering bases and pointed tips. Leaves may be six inches wide and two feet long. The fruit is a large three-part capsule that is rough to the touch.
Lemon Bacopa (Bacopa caroliniana) -Lemon bacopa is an emersed plant. This small sprawling herb is common in fresh and brackish waters. At least three species of bacopa are native to Florida. This species, lemon bacopa, is distinguished by its blue flowers, a hairy upper stem, and by the lemony scent of its crushed leaves. Bacopa leaves are succulent and relatively thick. Its leaves are only 1/8 inch wide and 5/8 inch long. Leaves are almost round, and are arranged oppositely on the stem. Flowers are small and blue, with 4 or 5 petals.
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