Flat lake stagnant with pondweed,
pickerelweed, dollar bonnet,
there’s no compass here.
The toothy dredge crackles along
the bottom, uprooting snails
The heart shaped mature leaves float on the surface of slow moving waters, in ponds, lakes and slow moving rivers. Beginning in May and lasting through to September the flowers rise on an emergent thick, green stalk above the water. After the flowers are fertilized they sink below the surface for close to ten days, when the seed head then rises above the surface of the water and explodes…broadcasting the seeds at a distance from the parent. The exploding seedpod is part of why the plants one common name is Spatter-dock!
Most parts of the plant served some purpose in life…food, and medicine being the most prominent uses. The Native Americans had many uses for the root, seeds, flowers, and leaves. In herbal medicine the Shuswap Indians of British Columbia would make an infusion of the mashed roots for application to back pain, rheumatism, and sores. The Thompson Indians (of the same area) would mix the dried leaves with grease and use this ointment applied to swellings, bites, and infections.
The roots are anaphrodisiac (blunting the libido), and were used among the Abnaki men as infusion to inhibit sexual drives and desires for up to 2 months. Containing steroids the roots would be used for sexual irritability, blood diseases, and chills. It was also a folk remedy for infertility.
Check out the earlier post on this plant.