Plant A Day – False Mermaidweed

False Mermaidweed Floerkea proserpinacoides

False Mermaidweed
Floerkea proserpinacoides

Given the cool name for this plant, you’d think it would be a cool looking plant with a cool flower.  It turns out that this plant got its name deviously.  There is another genus of plants, Proserpiniaca, called Mermaidweed, which are native and grow in water and are sold as aquarium plants.  Under water in an aquarium they look nice, but without showy flowers.  False Mermaidweed looks somewhat like Mermaidweed stranded on the land.  It has divided leaves and small flowers.  It’s fairly common around here in moist woodlands and you have probably seen it but not noticed it because it looks like young plants that haven’t flowered yet.

I know I’ve gone on and on about naming plants “False” something or other, but this is one case where a plant actually benefits from stealing the name of another plant, even if it does have to have “False” in its name.

The three-petaled flowers are tiny and unnoticeable

The three-petaled flowers are tiny and unnoticeable

The plants form loose mats in mid-spring

The plants form loose mats in mid-spring

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