Scientific name: Pontederia cordata
Abundance: uncommon
What: young leaves, seeds
How: young leaves in salad or cooked; seeds raw, roasted, or ground into flour
Where: shallow water
When: early summer to fall
Nutritional Value: nuts high in starch
Dangers: It is best to cook water plants to kill any bacteria or other water-born parasites

Leaf Arrangement: Primarily basal with alternate presentation along the stem.

Leaf Shape: Elongated heart-shaped with a pointed tip, measuring 4 to 10 inches in length and 2 to 6 inches in width.

Leaf Venation: Exhibits parallel venation, extending from the base to the pointed tip.

Leaf Margin: Entire, with smooth edges that conform to the heart-shaped outline.

Leaf Color: A deep green, often exhibiting a glossy surface.

Flower Structure: Arranged in a dense, spike-like raceme with each flower having 6 petals fused into a tube at their base, forming a structure 4 to 9 inches long at the top of the stem.

Flower Color: Typically blue to purple, sometimes pink or white, with distinctive yellow markings at the center.

Fruit: A small, three-celled, oblong capsule that carries multiple seeds.

Seed: Small, disc-shaped, numerous, suited for water dispersal, typically less than 0.1 inches in diameter.

Stem: Sturdy, erect, and can grow up to 4 feet in height, often partially submerged in water.

Hairs: Absent; surfaces of both leaves and stems are smooth.

Height: Ranges from 1 to 4 feet above the water surface.  

Pickerelweed plants


Pickerelweed flower stalk with a few flowers beginning to bloom.

Pickerelweed flower


Pickerelweed leaf.

Texas distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture. The marked counties are guidelines only. Plants may appear in other counties, especially if used in landscaping.

North American distribution, attributed to U. S. Department of Agriculture.

Look for these plants in still water such as ponds, lakes, water features, and very slow moving streams.

The young leaves are edible before they unroll (early summer). The pickerel fruit isn't edible but the seed it contains is a great food source. These seeds can be eaten raw, ground into flower, roasted, or boiled into a porridge.

Buy my book! Outdoor Adventure Guides Foraging covers 70 of North America's tastiest and easy to find wild edibles shown with the same big pictures as here on the Foraging Texas website.

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