Callitriche palustris L. - Vernal Water-starwort


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Callitriche palustris - (image 1 of 3)



Family: Plantaginaceae


Quiet water of rivers, lakes, ponds, pools.




Circumboreal; in North America south to WV, NE, TX, and CA. Also occurs in South America



Annual; stems loosely clustered, 10-20 cm, rooting at the lower nodes, mostly submerged but with the shoot-tips floating, sometimes stranded in mud and completely emersed, rarely completely submersed; submersed leaves linear, 5-15 mm; floating or emersed leaves spatulate to obovate, to 5 mm wide, triplinerved; fruit sessile, obovate, 1-1.4 mm, somewhat longer than wide, the margins winged or at least sharp-edged on each side of the commissural groove toward the summit.


Flowers mid June to early October

Wetland indicator: OBL

This species and C. heterophylla are the two species most likely to be encountered in NY. Callitriche heterophylla lacks winged margins on the fruit and also the commissural groove between the wings. It also tends to have more variable leaves.


Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.

The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY




Michael Hough 2018