Floating Water Chestnut
Water chestnut is a rooted, floating plant that invades shallow to deep, fresh water habitats. Water chestnut can grow in 3.6-4.6 metres of water and forms dense, floating mats, often three layers deep.
Water chestnut is rich in starch, protein, glucose, unsaturated fatty acids and a variety of vitamins, such as vitamins B1, B2, C, carotene and trace elements such as calcium, phosphorus and iron.
Leaves: Leaves on the surface of the water are alternate, triangular in shape, strongly toothed and connected to the stem by an inflated petiole. Submerged leaves are feathery and either opposite or alternate.
Flowers: Flowering occurs from mid-summer to frost. Small, four petal flowers born in the leaf axils of younger leaves above the water give way to the nut-like fruit.
Fruit: The fruit have two to four 1.3 centimetre long, sharp, barbed spines. The spines can penetrate shoes.
Seed: The single-seeded mature fruit are woody and bear four sharply pointed horns. When mature, the fruits fall from the plant and sink to the bottom of the water body. A seed dormancy period of four months has been found, overwintering at the bottom of the water body and germinating during and throughout much of the warm season to produce shoots that grow to the water surface, where the typical rosette is formed. Seed can remain viable for up to five years.