Eriocaulon aquaticum (Common Pipewort)

Plant Info
Also known as: Seven-angle Pipewort
Genus:Eriocaulon
Family:Eriocaulaceae (Pipewort)
Life cycle:perennial
Origin:native
Habitat:sun; soft water lakes, shallow water, sandy or mucky shores, bogs
Bloom season:July - September
Plant height:4 to 9 inches above water
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: OBL MW: OBL NCNE: OBL
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: indistinct Cluster type: flat

[photo of flower] Flowers are indistinct, forming a dense, white, button shaped cluster 1/8 to 3/8 inch across at the tip of a naked stem. Flower parts are gray but hidden by dense white hairs on the tips of the tepals and bracts, punctuated with the visible grayish to nearly black stamen tips (anthers).

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves form a basal rosette and are papery thin, 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, 1/8 to 1/6 inch wide and ¾ to 3¾ inches long, evenly tapered out to the sharp tip. The stem is the single flower stalk, typically one per rosette, a rigid hollow pipe, somewhat twisted with prominent ridges and enclosed at the base in an inflated sheath. The stem is only a few inches tall on land-locked plants but can grow to 3 feet when submersed.

Notes:

Eriocaulon aquaticum is one of only two species of this genus found at northern latitudes of the US and the only one found in Minnesota, where it is mostly restricted to lakes or bogs in the Arrowhead region. It can be found in both peaty/organic and sandy substrates from the shore waterline out to 3 foot depth, though typically in shallow water. Its diminutive size can make it difficult to pick out from among other emergent reeds or sedges.

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More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Lake and Pine counties.

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