Highlands Biological Station buildings remain closed to visitors with the exception of limited visitor hours for the Nature Center.  HBS Botanical Garden trails remain open, and in accordance with University policy masks and physical distancing are required on the HBS campus.  Highlands Biological Station currently plans to offer academic and public programming in summer 2021, observing University mandated Covid-19 safety protocols.  For the safety of the HBS summer community, before being permitted to work or study at HBS prospective summer students, teaching faculty, and researchers must provide documentation of (1) having received a Covid-19 vaccine or (2) a negative Covid-19 test taken within 3 days of planned arrival.  Please see the HBS website for full summer 2021 Covid-19 safety policies and procedures, and bear in mind that University policy and HBS program plans are subject to change in light of developments with the pandemic this spring. 

Pontederia cordata


Pontederia cordata, or “Pickerelweed” is a wetland perennial from the Pontederiaceae family. Distribution for this species stretches all the way into parts of South America and into parts of Nova Scotia. In its native habitat, find it on shores, in marshes, and swamps typically in clusters.

As a wetland species, this plant is best grown on the shores of ponds, lakes, etc… Inflorescences emerge as spikes and persist consistently from mid-summer to fall. Flowers are a vibrant purple, with some plants known to have white flowers. Leaves are wide (up to 5”) and glossy with a pronounced midvein but is also present a wide degree of variability.

This species spreads rhizomatously and is known to thrive rapidly in the proper growing conditions. Pontederia cordata has also been used in certain constructed wetlands as a means to manage runoff from industrial sites.