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Brasenia schreberi - J.F.Gmel.

Common Name Water Shield
Family Cabombaceae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Oligotrophic or mesotrophic ponds, lakes, and sluggish streams from sea level to 2000 metres[270].
Range N. America - Nova Scotia to Manitoba and Nebraska, south to Florida, Texas and Mexico.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Water Plants Full sun
Brasenia schreberi Water Shield

Robert H. Mohlenbrock @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / USDA NRCS. 1995. Northeast wetland flora: Field office guide to plant species. Northeast National Technical Center, Chester.
Brasenia schreberi Water Shield
USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. Vol. 2: 76.


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Water Shield is an aquatic plant with slender, branching stems. The Leaves are entire, floating, oval to elliptic in shape, green above, often purple beneath, long-stemmed, and have the stalk or petiole attached to the lower surface instead of the base or edge. The small, purple flowers have sepals and petals that are similar to each other.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Brasenia schreberi is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.1 m (0ft 4in) by 2 m (6ft). It is in flower from July to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Beetles, wind.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It can grow in water.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


B. peltata.

Plant Habitats


Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Root
Edible Uses:

The young curled leaf tips, which are coated with a thick transparent mucilage, are eaten as a salad with vinegar, sake and soy sauce, or they added to soups as a thickener[106, 159, 183]. Considered a great delicacy in Japan where they are often bottled and sold in local markets[183]. They are mainly used in the spring[46]. A nutritional analysis is available[218]. Root - cooked[2, 106, 177]. Peeled then boiled and eaten, they can also be dried and stored for later use or ground into a powder[183].

References   More on Edible Uses

Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Leaves (Dry weight)
  • 135 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 0%
  • Protein: 9.5g; Fat: 2.7g; Carbohydrate: 24.3g; Fibre: 1.4g; Ash: 63.5g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 122mg; Phosphorus: 311mg; Iron: 27mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
  • Vitamins - A: 135mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.41mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0mg; Niacin: 0.05mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;
  • Reference: [ 218]
  • Notes: The figure for ash is remarkably high and needs to be verified.

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Anthelmintic  Antidote  Astringent  Cancer  Dysentery  Vulnerary

The leaves are astringent[240]. They are crushed and applied to abscesses and boils[218], and are also used in the treatment of phthisis and dysentery[240]. A decoction of the seed is antidotal[218]. It is also used in the treatment of dysentery and to relieve thirst[218]. The plant is anthelmintic and vulnerary[152, 178, 218]. It is used in the treatment of cancer[218].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses


The plant has phytotoxic properties that allow it to inhibit the growth of other plants nearby and therefore allow it to become dominant. This gives it a potential for the natural control of invasive water weeds[274].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A floating plant producing stems up to 2 metres long[266], it should be grown in still lime-free water up to 1.8 metres deep[200]. Prefers a rich soil[200]. A good plant for the water's edge but it is difficult to establish[1]. The submerged parts of the plant are conspicuously covered in a mucilaginous jelly[274]. Plants are not fully hardy in Britain[56]. According to another report this species requires a minimum winter temperature of 18°c and can only be grown in aquaria and ponds in heated greenhouses[200].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:



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Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

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Plant Propagation

Seed - no details have been found for this species. Seeds of many water plants have a short viability if allowed to dry out so it is probably best to sow the seed as soon as it is ripe in a warm greenhouse or to store it in water until the spring and to sow then. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Just cover the pots with water and then increase the depth as the plants grow. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring[200].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Native Plant Search

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

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Readers comment

Missy Mier   Sun Sep 26 23:44:54 2004

How can the plant be destroyed? It has taken over my pond and I want rid of it.

   Sat Sep 13 2008

you should put more information or details on the habitat otherwise i thought it was pretty nice.

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