Nymphoides cordata (Ell.) Fern.

little floating-heart

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Little floating-heart has small, floating, heart-shaped leaves with purple undersides. The Seminole used this plant to treat 'turtle sickness': trembling, short breath, and cough.

Habitat

Lacustrine (in lakes or ponds), riverine (in rivers or streams)

Characteristics

Habitat
aquatic
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Leaf position
some of the leaves are floating at the surface of the water
Leaf arrangement
alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
Leaf blade length
30–70 mm
Petal or sepal number
there are five petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
Petal color
white
Specific leaf type
the leaf is not divided, rather the blade is made up of one segment
Floating leaf shape
  • the leaf blade is cordate (heart-shaped with backward-facing rounded lobes)
  • the leaf blade is ovate (widest below the middle and broadly tapering at both ends)
Underwater leaf blade width
0 mm
Fruit type (general)
the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe
Underwater leaf length
0 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Clonal plantlets
    Turion length
    0 mm
  • Flowers
    Anther color
    there is a noticeable pink, reddish or purplish tint to the anthers
    Anther length
    Up to 10 mm
    Carpels fused
    the carpels are fused to one another
    Flower lower lip length
    0 mm
    Flower position
    the flowers are above the surface of the water
    Flower symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
    Inflorescence type
    the inflorescence is an umbel (with an axis so short it appears the flowers all originate from the same point)
    Inflorescence width
    5–10 mm
    Length of flower stalk
    5–60 mm
    Length of peduncle
    Up to 30 mm
    Nectar spur
    the flower has no nectar spurs
    Number of carpels
    2
    Ovary position
    • the sepals and/or petals are attached above the ovary
    • the sepals and/or petals are attached below the ovary
    Palate on corolla
    no
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes two cycles of petal- or sepal-like structures
    Petal appearance
    the petals are thin and delicate, and pigmented (colored other than green or brown)
    Petal color
    white
    Petal fringed edges
    the petals are fringed
    Petal fusion
    the perianth parts are fused to form a tube, cup, or bell shape
    Petal hairs on inner/upper surface
    there are no hairs on the inner/upper petal surface
    Petal length
    5–8 mm
    Petal number
    5
    Petal or sepal number
    there are five petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
    Pistil number
    1
    Sepal appearance
    the sepals resemble leaves in color and texture
    Sepal length
    2–3 mm
    Sepal number
    5
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    the sepals are fused to each other (not other flower parts), at least near their bases
    Spur length
    0 mm
    Stamen number
    • 4
    • 5
    Stamen position relative to petals
    the stamens are lined up with the sepals
    Stamens fused to petals
    the stamens are fused near the bases of the petals or tepals
    Style number
    1
  • Fruits or seeds
    Fruit beak length
    0 mm
    Fruit length
    4–5 mm
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is a capsule (splits along two or more seams, apical teeth or pores when dry, to release two or more seeds)
  • Glands or sap
    Oil glands on nodes
    none of the nodes have oil glands
    Sap
    the sap is clear and watery
  • Growth form
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Root septa
    the roots do not have transverse septa
    Roots floating in water
    the plant has clusters of roots that float in the water
    Turions
    there are no turions on the plant
    Underground organs
    the plant has a rhizome (a horizontal underground stem with roots growing from it)
  • Leaves
    Bract position (Sparganium)
    NA
    Bracts
    the flowers or their pedicels have bracts at their bases
    Floating leaf basal lobes
    yes
    Floating leaf blade width
    15–50 mm
    Floating leaf length
    30–70 mm
    Floating leaf shape
    • the leaf blade is cordate (heart-shaped with backward-facing rounded lobes)
    • the leaf blade is ovate (widest below the middle and broadly tapering at both ends)
    Floating leaf tip
    • the tip of the floating leaf blade is retuse (blunt or rounded, with a notch at the tip)
    • the tip of the floating leaf blade is rounded, with no point
    Leaf arrangement
    alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
    Leaf blade length
    30–70 mm
    Leaf blade veins
    the lateral veins radiate from the base and continue to spread away from the centerline of the leaf, or branch off the central vein at intervals
    Leaf blade width
    15–50 mm
    Leaf position
    some of the leaves are floating at the surface of the water
    Leaf special features
    none of the mentioned special features are present
    Leaf-like branch segments
    0
    Leaf-like branch shape
    NA
    Specific leaf type
    the leaf is not divided, rather the blade is made up of one segment
    Staminate bract edge (Myriophyllum)
    NA
    Stipule appearance
    NA
    Stipule fused to leaf
    NA
    Stipules
    there are no stipules on the plant
    Stipules fused around stem
    NA
    Trap-bladder length
    0 mm
    Underwater leaf air passage number
    At least 4335
    Underwater leaf air passage relative width
    At least 4336
    Underwater leaf air passage row number
    0
    Underwater leaf blade edges
    NA
    Underwater leaf blade shape
    NA
    Underwater leaf blade veins
    0
    Underwater leaf blade width
    0 mm
    Underwater leaf length
    0 mm
    Underwater leaf stalk
    NA
    Underwater leaf stalk length
    0 mm
    Underwater leaf tip shape
    NA
  • Place
    Habitat
    aquatic
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • in lakes or ponds
    • in rivers or streams
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Flowering stem growth form
    the flowering stem is upright

Wetland Status

Occurs only in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: OBL)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Nymphoides peltata:
corolla yellow, mostly 20–25 mm wide in life, the lobes short-fringed along part of the margin, and flowers rarely replaced by spur-like roots (vs. N. cordata, with the corolla white, mostly 5–8 mm wide in life, the lobes not fringed on the margin, and some flowers usually replaced by a cluster of spur-like roots).

Synonyms

  • Limnanthemum lacunosum (Vent.) Griseb.
  • Nymphoides lacunosa (Vent.) Kuntze
  • Villarsia cordata Ell.
  • Villarsia lacunosa Vent.

Family

Menyanthaceae

Genus

Nymphoides

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Nymphoides cordata (Ell.) Fern. N

little floating-heart. Limnanthemum lacunosum (Vent.) Griseb.; Nymphoides lacunosa (Vent.) Kuntze; Villarsia cordata Ell.; V. lacunosa Vent. • CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Still or slow-moving water of lakes and rivers.