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pickerel weed seeds

Pickerelweed has often been used for food. Each fruit contains a nutritious, starchy seed that can be eaten straight from the plant or dried and added to granola and other cereals. The dried seeds can also be boiled, roasted to improve flavor or ground into flour. The young leaves have sometimes been eaten raw in salads or boiled and served with butter. Flower spikes droop after bloom, releasing the distinctive seeds into the water.

Raw seeds of pickerel weed can cause swelling, blistering, and numbness in the mouth (for some people) – extremely uncomfortable lasting for about a day.

If the Pickerelweed could commiserate, it would find a friend with the Natal Plum. The Natal Plum has a deadly relative, the Oleander, which gets all the attention. The Pickerelweed’s close cousin, the Water Hyacinth, is arguably the most despised and expensive weed in the world. While damning the hyacinth few praise the Pickerelweed.

METHOD OF PREPARATION: Seeds, raw or cooked, parched, boiled or roasted, best collected when they fall into your hand off the plant. They make a good flour. I like to lightly roast them and take them on the trail with me. Young unfurled leaves and stalks boiled.

Green Deane’s “Itemized” Plant Profile

TIME OF YEAR: Blossoms in summer seeds in fall, however in Florida it can bloom from March to November.

Deer are particularly fond of Pickerelweed, as are muskrats and pickerels in more northern climes. It’s been around long enough to have its own bee for pollination, the Dufourea novae-angliae, which visits this plant for nectar and pollen and does not visit any other plant. Several ducks also eat the seeds including Mallard, Black Duck, Green-Winged Teal, and Wood Duck.

Pickerel Weed seeds and seed stalk

Pickerel rush (Pontederia cordata) is a native North American plant with a wide zone range in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 to 10. The plant may become invasive due to a rhizomous rooting system, but it is an attractive plant that bears blue spiked flowers from early summer well into fall.

You can also save and dry the seeds from the plant to start inside in flats in late winter. Seeded plants can take several seasons to produce the bright flowers. Caring for pickerelweeds once the seeds have germinated just requires consistent moisture and bright sunlight. Plant outside in spring.

About Pickerelweed Plants

You can share new starts of the plant with friends easily. Divide the rhizomes in late winter to early spring. Simply dig up the plant or remove it from its pot. Use a clean sharp soil knife or pruners to cut apart the roots, leaving each piece with several healthy leaves and thick rhizomes. Replant the new clumps and they will take off quickly, increasing your pickerel weed inventory.

Pickerelweed plants are rushes that are closely related to grasses. The plants are in the family Pontederia, named after an 18th century botany professor. These plants grow in clumps with thick to flat stems. The foliage is glossy and dark green with a heart-shaped leaf and grows 24 to 30 inches (61-76 cm.) high. Stems on mature plants arch gracefully on water grown plants. The flower spires are a deep to soft blue and rise several inches (8 cm.) above the body of the rush.

Pickerel rush care is easy and the tenacious plant is an unusual addition to riparian zones and along home ponds. Few tips are necessary to learn how to grow pickerel rush, but this semi-aquatic plant is worth a try if you plant it in a submerged pot to prevent unwanted spreading.