West Highland Flora

Quillwort


Isoetes lacustris

 

Isoetes lacustris

Photo Carl Farmer
22 Aug 2004 Flodigarry, Skye
Lowest group c 5 cm across at widest

Quite frequent in lochs with stony bottoms

Leaves can be up to c 40 cm long, but typically 1-5 cm in those close to the loch shore.

ID: Rosette of rather stiff narrow leaves, parallel-sided until near the tip, then tapering to a point.  Leaves round or elliptical in cross-section.  No brown stipules at leaf-base like Shoreweed, whose leaves are generally flattish on one side and roundish on the other.  Water Lobelia has broad blunt-tipped leaves, visible in top right of picture on left.  Awlwort is very similar but from May-Sept should have stems arising from the centre of the rosette on most plants (which Quillwort never does).  If the suspected Quillwort is plentiful it can be told from all the above species by breaking off a leaf and seeing that the inside has 4 hollow tubes.  Spiny Quillwort is like Quillwort but has flaccid leaves.

Other features: Related to Clubmosses, Horsetails and Ferns.  The spores are embedded in the expanded white leaf-base.

 

Isoetes lacustris

Photo Carl Farmer
22 Aug 2004 Flodigarry, Skye

Loose washed-up specimens like this can usually be found when Quillwort is present


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