Seven-Angled Pipewort

What plant is that?

Perhaps you have noted the presence of a robustly-growing aquatic plant near your shoreline. Being alert to the presence of invasive plants, one cannot help but be concerned. Pleasant Lake, Parker Pond, and Lily Brook have healthy populations of a native plant commonly called Seven-Angle Pipewort (Eriocaulon aquaticum.

Eriocaulon aquaticum grows in still water, and has a tall, pale, leafless stem with a single white button-like flower. The leaves, arranged in a rosette, are submerged on the bottom of the lake. Its height depends on the depth of the water in which it is growing. This plant needs good water clarity to grow and is an indicator of a healthy lake. It provides habitat for young fish, amphibians, damselflies and turtles. Our American black ducks graze on it.

Eriocaulon aquaticum helps to purify our water by conducting oxygen to its underwater roots, stems and leaves. This oxygen leaks into surrounding spaces where microorganisms decompose organic wastes, much like a water treatment plant!

PLEASE do not remove pipewort. Removing it eliminates the benefits it provides on water quality, oxygenation, and species diversity, and creates space on the lake bottom for less desirable plant growth, including invasive species. PLEASE admire pipewort, appreciate it, and be thankful for it. Boat propellers and wakes are enough of a threat to this lovely little shoreline wildflower.

USDA National Resources Conservation Service

Native Plant Trust / Go Botany