Pickerel weed

Pontederia cordata
Pickerel weed: Pontederia cordata Pickerel weed: Pontederia cordata

Common name:

Pickerel weed

Scientific name:

Pontederia cordata (Pontederiaceae)

Alternative common names:

Jongsnoekkruid (Afrikaans),iIzibu (isiZulu)

A rooted aquatic perennial up to 2m high with erect, emergent stems and horizontal rhizomes. Light or yellowish-green, heart-shaped leaves, one per stem. Blue flowers in spikes 5-15cm long with the upper petal having a yellow blotch in the centre, appear from September to June. Ii invades river banks, drainage lines and irrigated cane fields

Additional Info

  • Where does this species come from?

    North, Central and South America

    What is its invasive status in South Africa?

    CARA 2002 – Category 3 NEMBA – Category 1b

    Where in South Africa is it a problem?

    KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Gauteng

    How does it spread?

    It only spreads vegetatively from fragmented rhizomes

    Why is it a problem?

    Forms dense spreading clumps which can block drainage canals, compete with indigenous riverbank species, interfere with crops in irrigated fields and obstruct access to the edge of water bodies

    What does it look like?

    General description: Perennial, rooted aquatic plant 1-2m high, with erect emergent stems and horizontal rhizome, forming colonies. Leaves: Light or yellowish-green, heart-shaped leaves, one per stem. Flowers: Blue flowers in spikes 5-15cm long with the upper petal having a yellow blotch in the centre and appearing from September to June. Fruit/Seeds: None seen in South Africa, spreads vegetatively from fragmented rhizomes

    Does the plant have any uses?

    Used as an ornament in water features

    Plant me instead alternatives

    Arum lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica)