I love having a little pond in my backyard. Mostly because it's a bird magnet: in the time it takes me to eat breakfast, dozens of birds will stop by for a drink or a bath. But having a pond also allows us to grow some special plants. Among my favorites is pickerel weed.
The leaves of pickerel weed are like elongated hearts, giving it the name Pontederia cordata, or heart-shaped Pontederia. (The plant's namesake Pontedera was an Italian botanist who fought academic battles with Linnaeus over whether plants reproduce sexually. Linnaeus was proven right, and Pontedera has faded into obscurity but for the plant that his adversary named after him.)
This is apparently a very effective survival strategy, because pickerel weed can be prolific. My favorite place to see it is at Jug Bay, where you can canoe or kayak through acres of pickerel weed and its aquatic allies. We've also seen it at Brookside Gardens, Kenilworth Gardens, Roosevelt Island, and Huntley Meadows.
Do you have a favorite spot to find pickerel weed? Let us know in the comments.