Identification: Aquatic plant ID -south coast BC

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by tlpenner, Dec 16, 2010.

  1. tlpenner

    tlpenner Active Member

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    Anybody care to take a stab at this?

    In a freshwater pond near the beach in Delta, BC (possibly brackish) this plant is growing in the marginal area amongst natives such as carex, asters, rumex and potentilla.

    Populus and salix are near by.

    What is it??

    Thank you!
     

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  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    My first reaction is that it is some sort of gall, but had no luck finding a match.
     
  3. thanrose

    thanrose Active Member 10 Years

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    It does look like a gall... The red stems and petioles along with the prominent mid vein remind me of Ludwigia spp. Kinda big family, often invasive. At least one is sold for aquaria, but I frequently see them emersed. Does that leaf look smooth margined to you? I can't tell if that's just damage. Looks like alternate leaves, too.
     
  4. paion

    paion Active Member 10 Years

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    Looks like a flooded cocklebur?
     
  5. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Possibly, though I usually associate cockleburs with having curved tips on the spines of the burs.
     
  6. tlpenner

    tlpenner Active Member

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    The leaf doesn't match at all, and it's growing in 6" of pond water.

    Thanks anyways, for trying to help ; )
     
  7. paion

    paion Active Member 10 Years

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    The leaves have wilted, I wouldn't draw any comclusions from them as pictured... I'm rarely wrong when it comes to identifications ;-)
     
  8. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    I recognize it well. It is the Mud Bay Water Chestnut (Nuphesculus hippojactens). This unusual species is a cross between the Horse Chestnut & the native Water Lily. It is also known as the Mud Chestnut x hybridus, which is both botanically inaccurate as pointed out recently on this forum & extremely confusing, which is a common & apparently desired effect of common names.
    When the plants first started appearing in the late 19th Century in the shallow, sea-level, mosquito-infested sloughs of the Fraser River Delta, the European settlers discovered that they could use these fruits to help control the mosquito nuisance on their livestock. They would pluck the stems & whirl the stalk & fruit around their heads & throw them at a cow or horse. If the spiked fruit stuck to the animal's coat, the flexible stalk would wave back and forth as the animal moved. This would keep the mosquitos off the animal.
    This account was given to me by an ancient lady who lived just off Mud Bay Road. She said that the local schoolchildren would also throw these at the teachers & then hide around the back of the outhouses. What fun!
    In latter years, due to habitat destruction, this curious plant has become very rare. One of the most prolific meadows where the Mud Chestnut x hybridus used to thrive is now occpuied by Landsdowne Mall. So please do not reveal the location where this growing. I hope you can establish some protective measures next year.

    Merry Xmas!

    Glass brain (stay away from the rum & eggnog - as my family always tells me!)
     
  9. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    On the more serious side, though:

    This prompted me to order the Field Guide to Plant Galls of California and Other Western States for the UBC BG Library (it was on our Books Wanted list anyway). Unfortunately, no good matches.
     
  10. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    It is possible that this growth is a fasciated structure or similar growth abnormality. It could be the product of a somatic mutation, mechanical damage, chemical or hormonal influence including that of brackish water - perhaps.

    What is the plant? Is it a species that normally occurs in coastal areas?

    A GPS waypoint & some observation next spring might clear the whole thing up.

    gb.
     

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