Saturday, March 18, 2006
A Little Nutty
Originally uploaded by urtica.
We need a better common name for these sharply-pointed nutlets than "water chestnuts." Trapa natans is an aquatic plant native to Asia, and while people have been known to shell and eat the nutlets, this invasive species is not to be confused with those crunchy slices of water chestnut (vegetative corms from the sedge Eleocharis dulcis) in your Chinese food.
One place you can always count on finding evidence of T. natans is Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Concord, MA, where this photo was taken. That's because one of the original introductions of this species into the wild was in the nearby Sudbury River, back in the late 19th century. Since then, water chestnut has invaded much of the Northeast U.S.
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