Big Floatingheart, Beach Botany

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This week’s wildflower Big Floatingheart, Nymphoides aquatica, is a floating perennial herb that thrives in ponds, lakes, streams, ditches and canals in about every county in the State. I found this week’s specimen while splashing in the waters in the Okaloacoochee Slough in Hendry County. Floating leaves have a notched groove like water lilies. Shape is ovate to reniform (shaped like a kidney). Size is 2” to 6” in diameter. Leaf  color is dark green and purple above. The upper surface is smooth, the under surface is rough. Leaves are attached to stout stems about 1/8” in diameter. These stems are attached to tuber like roots attached to rhizomes buried in the substrate.

Small flowers are clustered at a node just below the leaf. The inflorescence would be solitary. The bloom has a calyx with five sepals and a white-colored corolla with 5 ragged petals and a yellow colored throat holding five stamens. The flower is somewhat roughed up. Fruit is a small many-seeded capsule held below the water surface. Blooming occurs spring and summer.

The specimen in the picture was surrounded by coniferous bladderworts.