Field of Science

Pond landscaping - glorious quillworts

One of the side benefits of pond renovation is you have new spaces to landscape, and this includes aquatic plants.  So JFTHOI the Phactor has decided to include a pot of quillwort, Isoetes.  This little known clubmoss is more common that most people know because it grows in places where most people don't look very close and it doesn't stand out except to a trained eye.  So this won't generate any rave reviews from people, but the point is knowing it's there.  Quillworts are the last living representatives of an ancient lineage of arborescent clubmosses, now reduced to little wetland plants.  And unless you've been frogging around down on your hands and knees in a shallow wetland, with an experienced botanist, you'll have never seen a quillwort.  Of course, once you have, you'll say, "Uh, that's what we're down here frogging around in the mud and water for?"   Yes!  As you can see the long slender leaves look sort of reedy-rushy except for the sporangia that are embedded in the base of fertile leaves, but you won't see them without pulling one up.  This is a big species with leaves a hand span long.  Just the thought of having such an ancient plant growing in our pond will be a source of considerable satisfaction. Image complements of Show Ryu, Wikimedia Creative Commons.

7 comments:

~mel said...

Thank you for sharing this ~ I have some of that down by the "water hole" and might just have to transplant some up this spring by my little pond ... affectionately named "the black lagoon". It has that name because it's a sunken black rubbermaid tub.

Justin said...

Think that it would do well in an aquarium?

Dr Chips said...

I LOVE ISOETES! I used to find them in the ponds of New Hampshire all the time and I would key them out according to the spores. I want this comment to be considered to be a RAVE for this forgotten genus, and for all the forgotten and under appreciated spore bearing plants of the world!

Jessica M. Budke said...

I definitely give quillworts rave reviews too! Hunting for them in Tennessee for my undergraduate research project was a lot of fun in spite of the muck. They are such cool plants. Which species are you growing? And I am guessing that they are transplanted? I haven't heard of any places selling them, but I would be interested to know if somewhere has them for sale.

The Phytophactor said...

OK clearly my readership runs to some serious botanical geeks, and the Phactor couldn't be prouder!

Scratch the hostile fay said...

I prefer the term "plant NERD", thankyouverymuch. But yes. I doubt you'd have people reading if they didn't like 'em.

Not being able to put in pond landscaping here at the technicolor trailer™, I'll have to take your word for it.... I have started a "moss garden" over by our patio.... we'll see if it survives.... ;)

Keep up the good stuff, green is GOOD. ;)

Aye,
Scratch

SEELE 1 said...

OMG!
I've never seen a quillwort myself. I've been meaning to find an Isoetes to cultivate but nobody seems to know them at all.
Do you know if the pop readily from spores like Selaginellas do?