WATER VIOLET

Hottonia palustris

Primrose Family [Primulaceae]

month8may month8jun month8june

status
statusZnative
flower
flower8bicolour
flower
flower8lilac
flower
flower8white
inner
inner8yellow
morph
morph8actino
petals
petalsZ5
type
typeZspiked
type
typeZtieredwhorls
stem
stem8round
rarity
rarityZuncommon
sex
sexZheterostylous

20th May 2012, Gold Valley Nature Reserve, Hampshire. Photo: © Earl Spencer
An aquatic that grows in shallow water, aerial stems up to about 100cm, although most appear shorter than this. Nodes on the underwater part of the stems have long roots.


20th May 2012, Gold Valley Nature Reserve, Hampshire. Photo: © Earl Spencer
A short well-spaced spike of flowers which could be described as tiered whorls of about (2) 3 to 5 flowers per whorl.


15th May 2018, Scots Float, Rye, Sussex. Photo: © RWD
Water Violet is a native plant. The filigree leaf rosettes floating on the water in the foreground belong to Water Violet.


15th May 2018, Scots Float, Rye, Sussex. Photo: © RWD
It is not a Violet, nor is the flower violet, but rather a lilac-pink. It is an aquatic growing in shallow, static or slow-moving waters, such as disused canals, ponds and ditches


15th May 2018, Scots Float, Rye, Sussex. Photo: © RWD
Petals patent (projecting outwards over a subtended angle of ±180°), the flower being 15-25mm across


20th May 2012, Gold Valley Nature Reserve, Hampshire. Photo: © Earl Spencer
Flowers on an erect longish stalk.


15th May 2018, Scots Float, Rye, Sussex. Photo: © RWD
 Pin flowers. Flowers at amply-spaced intervals up the round stem. The individual flowers being on fairly long petioles (flower stalks) directed upwards and outwards at an angle from the stem.


15th May 2018, Scots Float, Rye, Sussex. Photo: © RWD
 Pin flowers. Five somewhat irregularly-shaped pale-lilac petals fan outwards. The short sepal cup has 5 linear sepals (coming to a triangular point at the end) spreading out, best seen in the lower part where the petals have dropped off but the long style still has its discoidal stigma attached at the end.


15th May 2018, Scots Float, Rye, Sussex. Photo: © RWD
 Pin flowers. As-yet unopened flower buds are a deeper pink.


15th May 2018, Scots Float, Rye, Sussex. Photo: © RWD
The stem is round with many very short hairs of uniform length.


15th May 2018, Scots Float, Rye, Sussex. Photo: © RWD
 Pin flowers. The 5 petals have a striking golden yellow centre in a pentagonal arrangement and 10 orange-yellow spokes, the longest going a little way up the centre-line of the petals, which have a notch at their periphery.


15th May 2018, Scots Float, Rye, Sussex. Photo: © RWD
 Pin flowers. The petals seem to be fused near the centre, which becomes a deep tube from which five golden yellow anthers lurk just within and a longer style with greenish-yellow discoidal stigma protrudes.


15th May 2018, Scots Float, Rye, Sussex. Photo: © RWD
 Pin flowers. The pale yellow style protrudes significantly. The tubular centre part of the flower is golden yellow and white.


15th May 2018, Scots Float, Rye, Sussex. Photo: © RWD
The developing fruit (left).


15th May 2018, Scots Float, Rye, Sussex. Photo: © RWD
The leaves are pinnate filigree in floating rosettes


15th May 2018, Scots Float, Rye, Sussex. Photo: © RWD
One the right of a floating leaf is another aquatic plant: the poisonous Fine-leaved Water-dropwort.


19th Aug 2013, Knepp, West Sussex. Photo: © Dawn Nelson
Some leaflets are forked (centre top).


19th Aug 2013, Knepp, West Sussex. Photo: © Dawn Nelson
Leaves in a whorl, of sorts. They are flattish and pinnate with linear lobes set at a forward angle.


19th Aug 2013, Knepp, West Sussex. Photo: © Dawn Nelson
Some leaflets are forked (centre top). The leaves resemblance those of another aquatic plant, Parrot's Feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum), but there the leaflets are not as wide.


Not to be semantically confused with : Violets or Dog-Violets such as Common Dog-Violet (Viola riviniana) [plants with similar names but belonging to a totally different family (Violaceae)] - which have bi-lateral (zygomorphic) symmetry rather than radial symmetry. Nor with Dame's-Violet (Hesperis matronalis), a Cabbage Family plant.

Slight resemblance to : Water Lobelia (Lobelia dortmanna) which also grows in shallow fresh water with similar colour flowers and the same number (five) of petals, but which grows mainly north of Lancaster rather than south) and belongs to the Bellflower Family (Campanulaceae),

Superficial resemblance to : Narrow-leaved Water-plantain (Alisma lanceolata) and to Flowering-Rush (Butomus umbellatus), aquatic plants which have similar coloured flowers but only three petals.

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature :

The leaves resemblance those of another aquatic plant, Parrot's Feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum), but there the leaflets are not as wide.

No relation to : Violets such as Common Dog-Violet (Viola riviniana) [plants with similar names but are in a differing family, the  Violet Family Violaceae].

Genus name not to be semantically confused with that of: Houttuynia which are Chameleons.

Grows in shallow, clear and calm fresh-water such as ponds and ditches often in-accessible to close photography. Most aquatic plants have but three petals, not so Water Violet with five. Distribution mainly south of Lancaster. The only plant in the Hottonia Genus (at least in the UK). All leaves are submerged, pinnate and in whorls. The plant is up to a metre in length, or more, half under-water, rooting at the nodes, hence is able to colonize large areas, but slowly rather than rampantly. It is native to the UK.

It is Heterostylous, where the flowers, although bisexual, come in two types, thrum and pin. The pin form has a long style and short stamens, the thrum form is the reverse of that.

It has two types of roots, the ones at the bottom of the plant which extend into the mud and silvery-white roots which emerge at every node further up the submerged stem which just dangle freely in the water.

The leaves are connected to the stem but can appear some distance away from the plant. They occur in small floating 'rosettes', often submerged, but occupy the surface if water levels fall. If there are a lot of them they can overlap on each other forming a more substantial mat.

The flowers are Cleistogamous, that is the flowers can polinate themselves without ever opening, it being self-fertile. Opened flowers are also pollinated by insect visits. It flowers in May and June. It is the County Flower of Huntingdonshire.

It is found more often in the South-east, East and the Midlands of England, but can occur sporadically in England or Wales, but not Scotland.


  Hottonia palustris  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Primulaceae  

Distribution
 family8Primrose family8Primulaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Hottonia
Hottonia
(Water-Violet)

WATER VIOLET

Hottonia palustris

Primrose Family [Primulaceae]