Lizard's Tail

picture of lizard's tailSaururus cernuus

Family:
Saururaceae

Lifecycle:
Perennial

Native or Introduced:
Native

Nutrient Removal Rating:
Low

Wildlife Value:
Low

Rooted or Floating:
Rooted

Site Requirements:
Full sun to part shade

Maximum Water Depth:
18 inches

Plant Description:
Lizard's tail is an herbaceous perennial that spreads using rhizomes. Stems can grow to a height of 3-4 feet. When young, stems are covered with fine hairs.

Large heart-shaped leaves can be as long as 5-10 inches. Petioles can range from 0.5 to 4 inches in length. Leaf tips are sharply pointed with green upper and light green lower surfaces.  Inflorescences consist of curved racemes that appear as a "lizard tail." Inflorescences are typically 4-8 inches long.

Fragrant flowers form in large groups. Flowering occurs from spring to summer and occasionally in early fall. Lizard's tail lives in low woods, along the margins of bodies of water, and in swamps and marshes.

Sources:

  • Audlbach-Smith, C.A., deKozlowski, S.J. 1996. Aquatic and Wetland Plants of South Carolina. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
  • Flora of North America (see link below)

Additional reading: