Water Pennywort

Hydrocotyle spp.

Description


Water pennywort is a relatively small perennial plant that seldom exceeds 10 inches in height. Leaf petioles arise from creeping stems and attach to the center of the leaf. Leaves are round with bluntly rounded toothed margins, up to 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Flowers are borne on separate stalks as tall or taller than the leaves. Flowers are white to greenish-white somewhat inconspicuous with tiny simple flowers that arise from a single point on the stalk Pennywort can spread across moist soil or form floating mats on the water’s surface. These mats can break off and form floating islands.

Submerged portions of all aquatic plants provide habitats for many micro and macro invertebrates. These invertebrates in turn are used as food by fish and other wildlife species (e.g. amphibians, reptiles, ducks, etc.). After aquatic plants die, their decomposition by bacteria and fungi provides food (called “detritus”) for many aquatic invertebrates. The seeds of pennywort are used occasionally as food by waterfowl.