Jul. 15, 2017

water-shield, Brasenia schreberi

Water-shield is a very interesting flower. I've always enjoyed the extra interest and complexity the bluet damselflies add to this image. Not that water-shield flowers need added complexity.
They last two days. On the first day, only the pistils are mature. That evening, the flower withdraws beneath the water. On the second day, it extends higher than the first, and the anthers open. Water-shield is wind pollinated. This complicated process helps insure cross pollination. Judging by the nearly global native range of this plant, it is a very successful plan. The fruit develops underwater. The damselflies use any convenient stem to emerge onto and molt. Water-shield grows in shallow, sometimes acidic water in all states except AZ, CO, HI, ND, NM, NV, UT, WY, and in AB, BC, MB, NB, NF, NS, ON, PE, and QC. It also occurs in the West Indies, northern South America, Australia, India, east Asia, and parts of Africa. It occurred in Europe before the last glaciation. Lenawee Co MI, 7/20/11.