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  • Writer's picturemariagross

Pipeworts' Hidden Markings

Updated: Aug 17, 2020

On July 8, 2020 I was patrolling with Gitch Whalen along the shoreline from the Deans' Cove to Wiley Brook and we were struck at the variety of small pointy, multiple pedaled plants on the floor of the lake, in the middle of the littoral zone. I wondered if they were all Pipewort (a native plant and indicator of good water quality.) But not all of them had dead giveaway, the telltale flower, that you will see in the large middle plant, its stalk folder over with the button flower against the right side of the tray. Granted the little ones would have been too young to have that ID. It had seemed to me that the smaller plants were different.

Did I have some Quillwort in my tray? Amy confirmed that all of the specimens in the tray are Pipewort.

So I went back to the tray to start over.

I had read several seasons ago that the roots of a Pipewort would have striped ("septated") roots and I definitely did not "see" any on the plants I had .... UNTIL I used my magnifying lens and there they were! Teeny, tiny ones, on every root of each plant, even on the baby ones in the lower right corner.

The naked eye wasn't going to do it for me with this identification!

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Tim Keith
13 jul 2020

Very helpful. I, too was wondering whether the small plants were early pipewort or quillworts. Will check out the roots to see if they are striped.

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Don Yurewicz
Don Yurewicz
12 jul 2020

Thanks for posting - I saw the same pointed leave plants on the bottom in Zone 1 today and wondered the same thing - are they early growths of pipewort before the stems appear or could they be quillworts? Probably pipewort like you determined.

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