Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Water Willow (Decodon verticillatus)
- Family: Loosestrife (Lythraceae)
- Flowering: July-September.
- Field Marks: This shrub is recognized by its opposite or sometimes whorled leaves, its pink-rose flowers in dense axillary clusters, and its spherical, dark brown capsules.
- Habitat: Swamps and sink-hole ponds, often in standing water; marshes; streams.
- Habit: Perennial herb or shrub but with a woody base, the tip of the stem capable of rooting and forming dense beds.
- Stems: Erect to arching, woody at least below, smooth to hairy, angular, up to 8 feet tall.
- Leaves: Opposite or sometimes in whorls of 3 or 4, simple, elliptic to lanceolate, pointed at the tip, tapering to the base, without teeth, smooth or hairy, up to 6 inches long, up to 1 1/2 inches wide, without stalks.
- Flowers: Several crowded in dense clusters in the axils of the uppermost leaves, up to 1 inch across, pink-rose, borne on stalks.
- Sepals: 5-7, united to form a cup, green, to 1/4 inch long.
- Petals: Usually 5, free, pink-rose, up to 1/2 inch long.
- Stamens: 10, with 5 of them longer than the other 5.
- Pistils: 1; style 1; ovary superior.
- Fruits: Capsules nearly spherical, dark brown, up to 1/3 inch in diameter; seeds numerous, reddish.
- Notes: Seeds of this plant are eaten by waterfowl. Muskrats sometimes eat the stems.
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