pickerelweed, common name for the Pontederiaceae, a family of chiefly tropical perennial aquatic herbs found in freshwater. The pickerelweeds (genus Pontederia) range north into temperate regions, including most of the E United States and Canada. The water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), a native of tropical America, has spread widely and is so prolific that it has clogged many waterways in the S United States and in other areas, including Java, Australia, and the Great Lakes region of E Africa. It is sometimes cultivated in tanks and ponds for its ornamental foliage and blue-violet flowers, and is used in some areas as a raw material for producing biogas for cooking. The pickerelweed family is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Liliopsida, order Liliales.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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