FROGBIT

Hydrocharis morsus-ranae

Frogbit [Hydrocharitaceae]

month8jul month8july month8aug

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8white
inner
inner8yellow
morph
morph8actino
petals
petalsZ3
stem
stem8round
sex
sexZdioecious

31st July 2011, Nob End aqueduct, MB&B canal, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Usually solitary, 2011 was a good year for Frogbit.


30th Aug 2010, Nob End, Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal. Photo: © RWD
A single solitary flower in an ocean of floating oval leaves.


30th Aug 2010, Nob End, Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal. Photo: © RWD
Flower stands on a single stalk held aloft above water surface.


30th Aug 2010, Nob End, Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal. Photo: © RWD
Surrounded by its floating leaves. The smaller leaves are those of Duckweed.


30th Aug 2010, Nob End, Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal. Photo: © RWD
The leaves are flat and almost circular in outline with a deep nick towards the centre where the stalk joins.


30th Aug 2010, Nob End, Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal. Photo: © RWD
As are most aquatics, it has three white petals with a yellow centre.


30th Aug 2010, Nob End, Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal. Photo: © RWD
Water-logged specimens look bedraggled as they fail to ascend above water-level, probably being pushed in by passing ducks from where they are now unable to escape the high surface-tension of water.


31st July 2011, Nob End aqueduct, MB&B canal, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Most Frogbits have yellowish innards like the above, but some, like the flower below, buck this trend. See main text below for explanation.


31st July 2011, Nob End aqueduct, MB&B canal, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Most flowers have six yellower central appendages like the previous flowers, but the above has creamier and bifid (forked) styles. See main text below for explanation.


31st July 2011, Nob End aqueduct, MB&B canal, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Whereas other flowers have a green bulge just below the flower, but others don't.


30th Aug 2010, Nob End, Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal. Photo: © RWD
A mass of over-lapping leaves.


30th Aug 2010, Nob End, Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal. Photo: © RWD
The deep nick does not go quite to the centre of gravity.


30th Aug 2009, Nob End, Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal. Photo: © RWD
When disturbed by barging swans, the leaves are forced upwards. The stem of one is now visible. The floating jig-saw puzzle pieces are leaves of Water Fern.


30th Aug 2010, Nob End, Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal. Photo: © RWD
The leaves float and are on sub-surface runners. Another water weed lurks below the water surface.


The leaves have some similarities to : Fringed Water-Lily but they do not go crinkly or brownish at the edges like those of Fringed Water-lily, also, they are rounder and slightly smaller. The flowers are totally different: one is yellow, the other white!

Uniquely identifiable characteristics (when in flower)

Distinguishing Feature : The small floating lily-like leaves with occasional solitary three-petalled white flower held 1cm aloft above the water by a short stalk.

The flowers are very sparse, being solitary, with barely one flower every 3metres. It has taken the author over 5 years walking dead canals to find a specimen that is close enough to the edge of the towpath to take a close-up photograph of the flower without getting wet, and even then he had to stretch a metre over the waters' edge lying spread-eagle on the towpath with nettles in his face. Such dedication!.

Grows only in still fresh water, such as dis-used canals. Any continual disturbance, such as by the passage of craft will inhibit its survival or indeed establishment. Because it has free-floating roots, it is not anchored to the bed in any way, and would thus be flushed away if there were any flow of water.

As noted in the captions under the photographs, a few of the Frogbit flowers differ slightly in appearance. Some have six cream coloured forked styles and a green barrel-shaped bulge on the stem just below the flower, whereas others have thinner stems, no green bulge and yellow innards without forks. This is because Frogbit is mainly dioecious, having both sex organs in the same flower.

However, approximately 5 to 10% of the flowers are monoecious, have just one sex in the flower from the same rosette of leaves. Another rosette may have all of the other sex. But each rosette has flowers of one sex, or the other, when they are monoecious.

Stamens number 9 to 12 with some being sterile staminodes; the females have six staminodes and six forked (bifid) styles.

Another difference in appearance is due to the fact that the flowers rarely form fruits.

There are no alkaloids or flavonols present in Frogbit, but protoanthocyanidins are present.


  Hydrocharis morsus-ranae  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Hydrocharitaceae  

Distribution
 family8Frogbit family8Hydrocharitaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Hydrocharis
Hydrocharis
(Frogbit)

FROGBIT

Hydrocharis morsus-ranae

Frogbit [Hydrocharitaceae]

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