Erect tufted herb with long-stalked leaves and inflorescences with spongy peduncles about 2 ft. high; flowers white; at the margin of ponds in mud.
Petioles 25–50 cm., triangular in section; leaf-blade obovate in the seedling stage (which sometimes flowers and bears fruit) 3.5 × 1.5 cm.; mature leaves sagittate, 6–9 cm. measured along the midrib, 8–13 cm. wide on a level with the petiole apex; lobes 7–11 cm. long with the angle between them more than 90°; nerves 13–17; blade and petiole glabrous, rarely slightly pubescent or scabrid at the petiole apex. Peduncle as long as the petioles; inflorescence of 5–7 whorls; bracts glabrous, triangular, 1–2 × 1 cm., with rounded apex; bracteoles 3–6, glabrous, about 3 mm. long; basal whorl with 6–10 hermaphrodite flowers, 0–2 ♂ flowers; pedicels 2–4 cm. long, slender in ♂ flowers, but thickened to 1–2 mm. in diameter and much recurved in fruit. Sepals about 6 × 3.5 mm. in hermaphrodite flowers, 4 × 2 mm. in ♂ flowers. Petals delicate. Stamens 6; filaments 2 mm. long; anthers oblong, 1 mm. long; stamens much smaller in the hermaphrodite flowers. Carpels 2 mm. long; style 0.5 mm. long. Achenes ovoid, 4 × 3 mm., shortly stalked, reticulately ridged, rough-textured, pale brown. Fig. 5/1–5, p. 10.
Rhizome short, densely covered with thick rootlets. Leaves all radical; petiole long, gradually tapering upwards, glabrous or sometimes puberulous, especially in the upper part; blade sagittate, glabrous or puberulous; terminal lobe 2–7 in. long, 2–6 in. broad, triangular, obtuse, rarely acute or acuminate, nerves radiating from the apex of the petiole and somewhat converging above; basal lobes separated by a sinus of 50–140°, 2–7 in. long, 1–3 in. broad across the base, acuminate. Scapes solitary or several; lower branches up to 10 in. long, sometimes puberulous; bracts membranous, up to 1 in. long; flowers 4–15 in each whorl; pedicels up to 1 1/2 in. long, those of the male flowers more slender than those of the hermaphrodite. Sepals ovate, obtuse, 2 lin. long, many-ribbed. Petals white (Barter), narrowly ovate from a cuneate base. Stamens of the male flower larger than those of the hermaphrodite; filaments dilated at the base, glandular-pubescent, half as long as the anthers; anthers broadly ovate, subsagittate. Carpels entirely absent in the male flowers, in the hermaphrodite flowers 15–20 in 2–4 whorls, ovoid. Achenes obovoid, dorsally 3-ribbed or almost winged, 3 lin. long, 2 lin. broad; style-base more or less persistent. Seed horseshoe-shaped; testa thin, nearly smooth.
Sen.: (Dec.-Jan.) Roger 60! Heudelot 231! Dakar Chev. 75788. Tambacounda Adam 2445! Séléki, Casamance Chev. 2595!
Angola Icolo e Bengo; plentiful at the muddy marshy edges of Lagoa de Funda, near Funda, Welwitsch, 3010!
Niger Rep.: Zinder (fr. Oct.) Hagerup 586!
Portuguese East Africa Lower Zambesi; in a marsh at Lupata, Kirk! at N'Kueza (Ankweza), north of Sena, Kirk!
Togo Rep.: Lomé Warnecke 214! Davidson 14!
Kordofan Arashkol Mountain; at Omkenem, Steudner, 685! Kotschy, 169! Birket Rahad, Pfund, 407! 798!
Dah.: ?Whydah Isert (photo!)
Niger Nupe, in swamps, Barter, 1532!
Tanzania 19 km. W. of Dar es Salaam, 7 July 1957, Welch 375!
Tanzania Seseku, 13 June 1931, B. D. Burtt 3315!;
Lib.: Nimba Reserve (fr. Dec.) Adam 20202!
Gam.: Kuntaur Ruxton 108!
Mali: Banani, near Sanga Monod!
Ghana: Accra to Oda (June) Morton GC 9233! Savelugu (fr. Dec.) Morton GC 9894!
British Central Africa Tanganyika to Moero Plateau, Carson, 40! Ngamiland; Botletle Valley, Lugard, 206!
Kenya coastland near Lamu, Dec. 1875, Hildebrandt 1912!
Sierra Leone in wet places at Likuru and common up to Farana, Scott-Elliot, 4972!
British East Africa banks of the Nile, at Abu Kuka, Petherick! and at Gondokoro, Speke & Grant, 767! White Nile, without precise locality, Sabatier! coast, near Lamu Island, Hildebrandt, 1319! 1912!
Senegal Roger, 60! Perrottet, 807!
Senegambia Perrottet! Heudelot, 231!
Kenya Tanaland, Kolbio, 29 Aug. 1945, Mrs. J. Adamson 120 in Bally 6020!;
Uganda Soroti, near Wera Swamp, 15 Sept. 1954, Lind 332!
N. Nig.: Katagum Dalz. 199! Sokoto Lely 161! Dikwa (fl. & fr. Nov.) McClintock 23!
Tanzania Mkomazi, 23 April 1934, Greenway 3969!;
Kenya Arabuko, Oct. 1929, R. M. Graham 2164!;
Fl. Ind. Bat. iii. 243. —Schweinf. Beitr. Fl. Aethiop. 295; Micheli in DC. Monogr. Phan. iii. 39; Hook. f. Fl. Brit. Ind. vi. 560; Engl. Pfl. Ost-Afr. C. 94; Rendle in Cat. Afr. Pl. Welw. ii. 93.
Fl. Ind. Bat. 3: 242 (1855); F.T.A. 8: 209 (1902); E.P. IV. 15: 22 (1903).
Fl. Ind. Bat. 3: 242 (1855); F.T.A. 8: 209; Buchenau in Engl., Pflanzenr. 4, 15: 22, fig. 10 (1903); Berhaut, Fl. Sén. 180; Den Hartog in Fl. Males. 5: 324 (1957); Carter in F.T.E.A. Alismatac.: 9fig. 5, 1-5 (1960); Aké Assi, Contrib. 2: 10, partly; Obermeyer in Fl. S. Afr. 1: 109, fig. 35, 1 (1966).