Water Shield, Dollar Bonnet
Water shield’s floating leaves are smaller than lilies, green on the top and brown and slimy on the bottom; flowers are typically brownish.
Water shield has floating leaves two to five inches long that are smooth and green on top and jelly-like and brown on bottom. Leaves alternate on long leaf stalks and are shield- or oval-shaped. The slim stem is rooted in mud. Small flowers about half an inch long with three or four petals each bloom in June to a brownish or purple color.
Ducks and other waterfowl eat the seeds, and muskrats and nutria enjoy the roots and stems. The leaves of water shield look similar to water lilies but are smaller and have no slit. Another difference is that water shield leaves are attached to the stem in the center, creating a look like that of a target. Treat in early summer before the slimy gelatin coating develops on the leaves and stems.
Water shield can be found across most of the United States.