Pipewort (Eriocaulon aquaticum)
Updated: Jul 12
Pipewort flowers appear on long stalks (6-36 in. tall) and are button-like and white (see photo below). The leaves form a basal rosette with spiky leaves 1/8 to 1/6 inch wide and ¾ to 3¾ inches long. Leaves are often translucent with 3 to 9 parallel veins the length of the blade, and also conspicuous cross hatched veinlets, especially near the base. The blade is widest at the base and tapers out to a sharp point.
Look Alikes: This plant can easily be confused with quillwort and water lobelia when not in flower. When in flower, the key distinction is the white button-like seed head on pipewort.
This species has long been associated with good water quality.
Emergent flowers of pipewort.
Basal leaves of pipewort plants - photo by Maria Gross - Zone 7, Deans' Cove
Rootlets of a pipewort plant - notice segmentation. Photo by Maria Gross, Zone 7, Deans' Cove