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Botanical Nerd Word: Helophyte

Helophyte: A plant, typical of marshy or lake-edge environments, in which the perennating organ lies in the soil or mud below the water level, but the aerial shoots protrude above the water.*

These eastern skunk cabbages are flowering right now in Wilket Creek. After they’ve flowered, they will produce leaves above the water surface. The roots and stem stay below the water surface, buried in the mud.

*Allaby, M. (2006). A dictionary of plant sciences (Revised ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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