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

Hippuris vulgaris L.
common mare's-tail
Plantaginaceae (Mare's-tail family)
(Previously in Hippuridaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Krysia Tuttle  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #25106)

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Distribution of Hippuris vulgaris
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Species Information

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Perennial, aquatic, emergent herb from an extensive creeping rhizome; stems erect, simple but sometimes shortly branched from the lower nodes, glabrous, 1.5-5 mm wide, 5-40 cm tall, above water partly.
Stem leaves 8-12 per whorl, linear, glabrous, pointed at the tips, 6-35 mm long, 1-2 mm wide.
Inflorescence of tiny, mostly bisexual flowers in several whorls in the axils of the leaf whorls, stalked below, unstalked in the upper leaf axils; anthers 1.2 mm long; mature ovaries about 2 mm long.
Nutlets, 2-2.5 mm long; seeds 1.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

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

Habitat / Range

Streamsides, lake shores and shallow ponds in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; common throughout BC, less frequent along the coast; circumpolar, N to AK, YT and NT, E to Labr. and S to IN, NB, NM and CA; Chile, Argentina and Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Hippuris vulgaris

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) 130 866 1440
Slope Gradient (%) 0 0 10
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
70 148 220
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
5 7 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: BG(2), BWBS(3), CWH(1), ICH(5), IDF(52), MH(1), PP(3), SBPS(4), SBS(11), SWB(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.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References