Callitriche stagnalis

Plantain Family [Plantaginaceae]

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5th July 2013, a river, Cartmell, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
A shallow slow-moving river at this time. [The shrub bottom left is not it]

5th July 2013, a river, Cartmell, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Most of the visible parts of the plant are floating; but there are other bits that are below surface.

5th July 2013, a river, Cartmell, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The roots are trailing downstream out of the earth on the right.

5th July 2013, a river, Cartmell, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The leaves here are a bit random and disorganised.

5th July 2013, a river, Cartmell, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
The flowers seem to be in the centre of a circular patch of organised leaves.

5th July 2013, a river, Cartmell, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Starworts are monoecious, having separate male and female flowers. The tiny flowers, male, or female, are associated with these round sets of leaves. On male flowers there are two anthers associated with each whorl of leaves. Each male flower has two tiny cream-coloured anthers atop a long thin filament. The female flowers are just two long, thin, tapering green things which splay apart further than do the male parts on male flowering parts. Your Author cannot spot any female flowers in this photo; possibly because they are thin and concolorous with the green leaves. Its also because he couldn't get any closer to these plants than he did without slipping into the river, lying as he was on his tummy with torso well over the edge. He had a pub to go to afterwards for some refreshment!

Easily confused with : all other Water-starworts. Their characteristics are very variable. The books say that they can most easily be differentiated from one another by the shapes and sizes of the seeds/fruits. Autumnal Water-starwort (Callitriche hermaphrodtica) has never been recorded in Cartmell, nor has Various-leaved Water-starwort (Callitriche platycarpa), nor has Blunt-fruited Water-starwort (Callitriche obtusangula), nor Intermediate Water-starwort (Callitriche brutia ssp. hamulata), nor Autumnal Water-starwort (Callitriche hermaphroditica), nor with Short-leaved Water-starwort (Callitriche truncata).

However Pedunculate Water-starwort (Callitriche brutia) has been seen in the 4 tetrads which includes Cartmell but whether it has been seen in that same river is another unknown matter and, even if it has, then the leaves of that have in a 3-sided spanner-like notch at the termination, which these leaves shown above do not possess.

So, ipso facto, the above photos are indeed of Common Water-starwort.

Not to be semantically confused with : Starwort Mouse-ear (Cerastium cerastoides) [a plant with similar name]

Identifying Callitriches is not easy because they have very variable characteristics, or so the books say. But Common Water-starwort is the commonest, and it is recorded as growing in this area. And it does look like it, so your Author is reasonably confident that this is Common Water-starwort, but if anyone thinks otherwise, please drop me a line and tell me what you think it is instead.

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Callitriche stagnalis

Plantain Family [Plantaginaceae]