Lily pads have proliferated in Big Bass Lake. A kayak trip this weekend found the lake’s edges covered.
Watershield (Brasenia schreberi)
The pads of watershield are slightly smaller than other common lily pads, and they are more elliptical. It blooms throughout the summer, but we did not notice any of the smaller pink-purple flowers.
Its most interesting and noticeable feature was a thick coating of very slippery mucilage (slime!) coating the underside of the pads.
Because of the sliminess, I was surprised to read that it is edible and considered a delicacy in Japan. Further reading revealed that Watershield is best eaten as a young plant, before the mucilage is prevalent. Still…
American White Water-Lily (Nymphaea odorata)
The White Water Lily is commonly seen in area lakes. This picture from Big Bass Lake shows the contrast between its larger split leaf (at the upper right) and the smaller oval unsplit pads of Watershield. Also, the Watershield is a duller olive-green color.
Its prefered habit is clear water up to 5 feet deep with mucky soil at the bottom.
The prevalence of White Water-Lily along lake shores can interfere with boat access to docks. A website of the Minnesota DNR specifies that dock owners have the right to clear a 15′-wide channel through aquatic plants to access clear water. Beyond that, checking regulations prior to clearing aquatic plants is advisable.