Lizard’s Tail is a type of marsh plant that is also commonly known as Water Dragon. It grows in marshes of course and also at the edges of ponds and streams. It grows throughout much of the eastern United States. It is found in the southern parts of Canada and in Michigan, Minnesota and as far south as central Florida.
The Lizard’s Tail has a flower stalk that is made up of a lot of small white flowers called a raceme which is literally a group of flowers growing in a long narrow column. It grows to around six inches in length which makes it droop and that is why is called a Lizard’s Tail because the curve resembles just that. The stalk above the water line is several inches long with dark green heart shaped or arrow head shaped leaves that themselves grow up to five inches in length.
The entire plant itself has a stalk that is around five feet tall but much of it grows underwater. It has hairy stems above the water line and under the water line, rhizomes grow sideways and shoot up new plants. Several plants grow from one rhizome and that causes large dense colonies to grow from one plant. They will grow so densely in some areas that they crowd out all other plant life.
The Lizard’s Tail is a perennial. That means it’s visible plant parts die in winter but the underwater parts shoot new plants up in the spring. They bloom from June to September. It is very hard to kill the Lizard’s Tail as long as it has a steady water supply. The shoots can even survive in mud as long as it stays moist.
Turtles eat the tender leaves; and flies, bees, and other insects frequent them for nectar.
The denseness of the colonies provide shelter, cover and a perfect egg laying place for many animals. Fish, snakes, turtles, frogs, crayfish, salamanders, and bugs hide in and around the plants. Spiders hide around the tops of the plants.In the thicker areas of the colonies, animals such as geese, muskrats, raccoons, beavers, and ducks use the plants as cover. Dragonflies, frogs, salamanders, and many others lay eggs on or around the Lizard’s Tail. This one plant plays a large role in natural bogs and marshes.
Alkaloids are sometimes extracted from the plant and used for medicinal purposes.