E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Callitriche palustris L.
spring water-starwort (vernal water-starwort)
Plantaginaceae (Mare's-tail family)
(Previously in Callitrichaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #20790)

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Distribution of Callitriche palustris
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Species Information

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Aquatic or semi-aquatic perennial rooting in the mud; stems slender, 5-20 cm long, submerged, partially floating or stranded on mud, leaf bases joined by small, winged ridges.
All opposite; submerged leaves linear, 5-20 mm long, thin, single-nerved, narrowly margined, terminally notched, veins thickened but not protruding; floating and emergent leaves broadly spoon-shaped, 3-nerved.
Inflorescence of tiny, conspicuous flowers borne with bracts; female flowers stalkless or shortly-stalked; styles ascending.
Achene-like, 4, each 1-seeded, slightly wing-margined above, with regular vertical lines of small pitlike markings. vol2_5

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Green
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Slow-moving streams and shorelines in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; frequent in S BC; circumboreal, N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to NE, VA, NM and CA; Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Callitriche palustris

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 1900 1900 1900
Slope Gradient (%) 0 1 2
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
100 100 100
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
8 8 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: ESSF(1), SBS(1)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Callitriche palustris var. verna (L.) Fenley ex Jeps.
Callitriche verna L.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References