Habitat: Watershield is found in the floating-leaved plant community. It thrives in soft- water lakes, ponds and slow moving streams, especially those with sediments that are rich in organic matter.
Description: Watershield is a floating-leaved plant with moderately-sized, (4 to 12 cm long, 2 to 6 cm wide), oval to footballshaped leaves. Long, elastic stems (round in cross-section) rise toward the water’s surface from buried rhizomes. Stems are often loosely branching, with a single leaf attached (from the middle of its underside) to the end of each branch. The tops of the leaves are leathery and green during the growing season, grading to brilliant yellows, oranges and reds in the fall. The undersides of the leaves are reddish-purple. All submersed portions of the plant, including the undersides of the leaves, are coated with a clear mucilaginous jelly. The flowers are maroon to purple, less than 3 cm wide, and produced on stalks that emerge just above the water surface.