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Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains

Alismataceae - The Water Plantain Family


Perennial or annual, acaulescent herbs, emergent, stranded or less commonly submersed in habit, often with tuber-bearing rhizomes or cormose at the base when perennial, fibrous-rooted. Leaves simple, all basal; blades of floating or emersed leaves oblong-elliptic, lanceolate, ovate or sagittate, often linear when submersed; petioles broadly winged at the plant base, somewhat sheathing. Inflorescence a terminal compound panicle with whorled branches, or the flowers mostly in whorls of 3 in a simple or sparsely branched raceme, the whorls of branches or flowers subtended by bracts. Flowers perfect, imperfect or both, regular, hypogynous; sepals 3, greenish; petals 3, white or pinkish; stamens 6-many; pistils several to numerous, maturing into laterally flattened or turgid, often beaked achenes.

Lead Characteristic Go To
1 Pistils or achenes in a single whorl on a flat receptacle, mostly fewer than 20. Genus Alisma
1 Pistils or achenes numerous and crowded in a dense cluster on a globose receptacle. Lead 2
2 Flowers mostly imperfect, with the male above the female in the inflorescence; achenes laterally flattened and winged; leaves usually sagittate. Genus Sagittaria
2 Flowers all perfect; achenes turgid, strongly ribbed; leaves never sagittate. Genus Echinodorus


51. Alismataceae, the Water Plantain Family
1. Alisma L. -- Water plantain
1. Alisma gramineum Gmel.
2. Alisma plantago-aquatica L.
2. Echinodorus Rich. -- Burhead
1. Echinodorus rostratus (Nutt.) Engelm.
3. Sagittaria L. -- Arrowhead, duck potato
1. Sagittaria brevirostra Mack. & Bush
2. Sagittaria calycina Engelm.
3. Sagittaria cuneata Sheld.
4. Sagittaria graminea Michx.
5. Sagittaria latifolia Willd.
6. Sagittaria rigida Pursh


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