Yellow floating heart
FULL SCIENTIFIC NAME
Nymphoides peltata (Gmel.) Kuntze
FAMILY NAME COMMON
FAMILY SCIENTIFIC NAME
Synonyms: Limnanthemum peltatum Gmel., Nymphoides nymphaeoides (L.) Britt.
Nymphoides peltata is an herbaceous, perennial, aquatic plant that has stout, branching stems up to 2-3 mm (0.1 in.) thick. It is often found rooted in the mud of still bodies of water. The leaves, which arise from rhizomes and are usually opposite and unequal, subtend the umbel. The leaves are cordate to subrotund in shape measuring 5-15 cm (2-6 in.) long and wide. The bright yellow flowers of Nymphoides peltata have five petals, and measure 3-4 cm (1-1.5 in.) in diameter when fully open. There is one to several flowers on each stalk. The edges of the petals are fringed. This plant flowers from June to September. The seeds of are contained in beaked capsules that measure 1.2-2.5 cm (0.5-1 in.) in length. The seeds themselves are flat and oval in shape, and have ciliate margins that measure 3.5 mm (0.1 in.) in length. Page References Crow & Hellquist 276, Fernald 1166, Gleason & Cronquist 413, Holmgren 389, Magee & Ahles 833. See reference section below for full citation.
Nuphar variegata Durand. Young Nuphar variegata plants resemble Nymphoides peltata, but would not have flowers at such a young age.
Nymphoides peltata is dispersed by seeds as well as by rhizomes.
Nymphoides peltata is native to south, central and eastern Europe, as well as Japan, China and India. In the western United States, it has been reported from Washington, California and Arizona. In the eastern part of the country, it has been reported from New Hampshire to Maryland, west Illinois and south to Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. In New England it is known from New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
HISTORY OF INTRODUCTION IN NEW ENGLAND
Nymphoides peltata was first reported in 1882 in Winchester, MA, where it was most likely an introduction from cultivation. It was sold as a water garden plant as early as 1891. By this time, the plant was also prolific around Washington, D.C. In 1929, a well-established population was found on the Hudson River. The only Connecticut record is from 1939 from the University of Connecticut campus, but this population no longer exists.
HABITATS IN NEW ENGLAND
Aquatic, Lake or Pond, Yard or Garden. Nymphoides peltata prefers the still waters found in lakes and ponds. It is often found in water gardens, which are the source of many of its introductions.
Although Nymphoides peltata has not yet become a major problem in New England, it has the potential to shade and crowd out native aquatic plants. In warmer areas it has formed large stands that can block waterways. It is still commonly sold as a plant for water gardens, and can be carelessly disposed of into local waterbodies.
Documentation required: A specific photograph or mounted snippet of the floating leaves and flowers. Best time for documentation: Summer, early fall.
Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants - Images and general information
Integrated Taxonomic Information System - Taxonomic information
PLANTS Database - General information and map
Vermont Agency of Natural Resources - Fact sheet with general information
Washington State Department of Ecology - General information
Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board - General information
Bailey, L. H. 1949. Manual of Cultivated Plants. Macmillan, New York.
Crow G.E. and C.B. Hellquist. 2000. Aquatic and Wetland Plants of Northeastern North America. Vol 1. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison.
Fernald, M.L. 1950. Gray's Manual of Botany 8th ed. American Book Co., Boston.
Gleason, H.A. 1952. The New Britton and Brown Illustrated Flora of the Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc. New York
Gleason H.A. and A.C. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of the Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. 2nd ed. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.
Holmgren N.H. 1998. Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.
Magee D.W and H.E. Ahles. 1999. Flora of the Northeast. University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst.
Smolders, A., J.G.M. Roelofs, G. Vandervelde. 1994. Iron-deficiency in nymphoides-peltata owing to the exhaustion of dissolved iron in anaerobic sediments. Aquatic Botany 47 (3-4): 349-353.
USDA, NRCS. 2001. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.1. (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.