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Leaves and panicle

Alisma subcordatum

Common Name: American Water Plantain
Family: Alismataceae

Entry Author:  C. Westring
Description:  A perennial aquatic herb that is distinguished from other water plantains by the tiny petals (less than 2 mm long) and the ovate leaves.  Fresh leaves and roots are toxic but the toxicity is reduced by heat or dessication.
Ovate to lanceolate shaped leaves, each with a primary mid-vein flanked by three subparallel veins. 
White to pinkish, 3 petaled flowers in compound panicles on a leafless stem
Bears several flattened, keeled achenes in a small ring; each up to 2 mm long
Stem: Erect, unbranched except in the inflorescence, smooth
Branching Pattern:
Height:  10-90 cm above water
Conditions/Habitat/Kind of Forest:  Shallow water, marshes, ponds, lakes, streams, and ditches in full sunlight
Range:  Throughout most of North America except Rocky Mountain states
Conservation Status-US/ World Wide:  Not threatened
Uses (Human):  Bulb-like base was dried and eaten by Native Americans; ornamental uses in water gardens; a wide variety of medicinal uses


Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains.  February 23, 2005.  Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center.  Accessed: November 29, 2005. <>

Plants for a Future.  June 2004.  Accessed: November 29, 2005. <>

Thieret, John W.   National Audubon Society Field Guide to Wildflowers: Eastern Region (Rev. Ed.).  New York: Alfred A. Knopf Inc., 2001.

USDA, NRCS. 2005. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 ( Data compiled from various sources by Mark W. Skinner. National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

This page was created by: C. Westring, Muhlenberg College
Last updated 12/21/05