Bogs and Acidic Peatlands of Southern New England by Marsha C. Salett
Menyanthes trifoliata L.
MENYANTHACEAE (Buckbean Family)
EtymologyMenyanthes is derived from the classical Greek, menyanthos, a water plant mentioned by the philosopher, Theophrastus, who was a pupil of Aristotle and is regarded as the founder of botany; trifoliata means three-leaved, from the Latin: tri = three + foliatus = having leaves.
Synonyms (Common Name)Bogbean, Marsh-trefoil
DescriptionBuckbean is an emergent perennial herb that grows to 1 1/2' tall in small colonies. A stemless plant, its leaf and flower stalks grow from a thick, creeping rhizome. Buckbean is easy to recognize by its long-stalked leaves that are divided into three fleshy leaflets.
Wetland indicator statusOBL
Plant Heightto 1.5 feet
LeavesAlternate, on long stalks (2-10"), compound, divided into three sessile or short-stalked leaflets; leaflets 1-3" long, to 2" wide, narrowly ovate or obovate, with entire or wavy margins, fleshy.
Flower/InflorescenceWhite, often tinged with pink or purple; small (1/2-3/4"), funnel-shaped, 5 petals bearded with white hairs on upper surface; in dense cluster at the end of a naked stalk.
Flowering PeriodMay-June
FruitThick-walled, oval capsule.
HabitatBogs, marshes, pond margins, shallow waters.
RangeLabrador to Alaska; south to Virginia, Ohio, Missouri, and Wyoming.
(c) 1998-2006 Marsha C. Salett