Herb: Water Shield

Latin name: Brasenia schreberi

Synonyms: Brasenia peltata

Family: Cabombaceae (Watershield Family)

Medicinal use of Water Shield:

The leaves are astringent. They are crushed and applied to abscesses and boils, and are also used in the treatment of phthisis and dysentery. A decoction of the seed is antidotal. It is also used in the treatment of dysentery and to relieve thirst. The plant is anthelmintic and vulnerary. It is used in the treatment of cancer.

Description of the plant:


10 cm
(4 inches)

July to

Habitat of the herb:

Oligotrophic or mesotrophic ponds, lakes, and sluggish streams from sea level to 2000 metres.

Edible parts of Water Shield:

The young curled leaf tips, which are coated with a thick transparent mucilage, are eaten as a salad with vinegar, sake and soy sauce, or they added to soups as a thickener. Considered a great delicacy in Japan where they are often bottled and sold in local markets. They are mainly used in the spring. A nutritional analysis is available. Root - cooked. Peeled then boiled and eaten, they can also be dried and stored for later use or ground into a powder.

Other uses of the herb:

The plant has phytotoxic properties that allow it to inhibit the growth of other plants nearby and therefore allow it to become dominant. This gives it a potential for the natural control of invasive water weeds.

Propagation of Water Shield:

Seed - no details have been found for this species. Seeds of many water plants have a short viability if allowed to dry out so it is probably best to sow the seed as soon as it is ripe in a warm greenhouse or to store it in water until the spring and to sow then. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Just cover the pots with water and then increase the depth as the plants grow. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Oligotrophic or mesotrophic ponds, lakes, and sluggish streams from sea level to 2000 metres.

Known hazards of Brasenia schreberi:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.