Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Western Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Menyanthes trifoliata L.
- Family: Gentian (Gentianaceae)
- Field Marks: This bog- and marsh-inhabiting species is recognized by its smooth trifoliolate leaves that are all basal and its 4-6 white or pinkish united petals that are up to 1/2 inch long and fringed on the upper surface.
- Habitat: Marshes, bogs, swamps, edges of lakes.
- Habit: Perennial herb with creeping rootstocks.
- Stems: All underground or under water as rhizomes.
- Leaves: Basal, divided into 3 leaflets; leaflets oblong to ovate, pointed or nearly rounded at the tip, tapering to the sessile base, up to 3 inches long, up to 2 inches wide, with or without teeth; leaf stalks up to 10 inches long, smooth.
- Flowers: 7-20 borne on a separate leafless stalk; each flower stalk up to 1 inch long, with a bract at its base.
- Sepals: Usually 5, united at the base, green, oblong to ovate, up to 1/6 inch long.
- Petals: 4-6, usually 5, united to form a short funnel, white to pinkish, the tube and lobes up to 1/2 inch long.
- Stamens: Usually 5, borne on the tube of the petals.
- Pistils: Ovary superior or partly inferior; stigma 2-lobed.
- Fruits: Capsules ovoid or spherical, up to 1/2 inch in diameter; seeds yellow-brown, shiny.
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