Hippuris vulgaris L.

common mare's-tail

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Common mare's-tail is its popular name, but this is a rare plant reaching the southern edge of its range in New England, with only a few populations known from Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. It inhabits mud or peat shores or shallow water of slow-moving streams, ponds, sloughs and pools. Its inflorescences of tiny, axillary flowers, appear upright above the water, like a tail.

Habitat

Lacustrine (in lakes or ponds), riverine (in rivers or streams), shores of rivers or lakes, wetland margins (edges of wetlands)

Characteristics

Habitat
  • aquatic
  • wetlands
New England state
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont
Flower petal color
NA
Leaf type
the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
Leaf arrangement
whorled: there are three or more leaves per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges
the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
Flower symmetry
NA
Number of sepals, petals or tepals
there are no petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower, or they are not clearly present
Stamen number
1 or 2
Fruit length
1.7–2.5 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Clonal plantlets
    Bulbils
    the plant does not appear to have bulbils
    Bulblets replace flowers
    there are no bulblets where the flowers are located
  • Flowers
    Anther spurs
    the anthers do not have spurs on them
    Calyx symmetry
    • NA
    • there are two or more ways to evenly divide the calyx (the calyx is radially symmetrical)
    Carpels fused
    the carpels are fused to one another
    Cleistogamous flowers
    there are no cleistogamous flowers on the plan
    Corolla palate
    NA
    Corona lobe length
    0 mm
    Epicalyx
    the flower does not have an epicalyx
    Epicalyx number of parts
    0
    Flower description
    the flower has an inferior ovary, with or without a hypanthium
    Flower petal color
    NA
    Flower reproductive parts
    • the flower has both pollen- and seed-producing parts
    • the flower has either only pollen- or only seed-producing parts
    Flower symmetry
    NA
    Flowers sunken into stem
    no
    Form of style
    the style is narrow at the tip and unbranched
    Fused stamen clusters
    NA
    Horns in hoods (Asclepias)
    NA
    Hypanthium
    the flower does not have a hypanthium
    Inner tepals (Rumex)
    NA
    Nectar spur
    the flower has no nectar spurs
    Number of pistils
    1
    Number of sepals, petals or tepals
    there are no petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower, or they are not clearly present
    Number of styles
    1
    Ovary position
    the ovary is below the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    • the flower includes neither petals nor sepals
    • the flower includes only one cycle of petals or sepals
    Petal and sepal colors
    NA
    Petal appearance
    NA
    Petal folds or pleats
    the petals of the flower do not have folds or plaits
    Petal hairs (Viola)
    NA
    Petal number
    0
    Petal tips (Cuscuta)
    NA
    Reproductive system
    all the flowers have both carpels and stamens (synoecious)
    Scales inside corolla
    no
    Sepal and petal color
    NA
    Sepal appendages
    the sepals do not have appendages on them
    Sepal appendages (Oenothera)
    NA
    Sepal number
    0
    Stamen attachment
    the stamens are not attached to the petals or tepals
    Stamen number
    1 or 2
    Stamen position relative to petals
    NA
    Stigma position
    the stigmas are positioned on the inner surface of the style
    Umbel flower reproductive parts
    NA
  • Fruits or seeds
    Achene relative orientation
    NA
    Achene shape
    NA
    Achene surface (Polygonum)
    NA
    Achene type
    NA
    Berry color
    NA
    Capsule color (Viola)
    NA
    Capsule splitting
    NA
    Fruit (pyxis) dehiscence
    NA
    Fruit features (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Fruit length
    1.7–2.5 mm
    Fruit locules
    two
    Fruit type (specific)
    • the fruit is a drupe (fleshy, with a firm inner ovary wall that encloses a single seed)
    • the fruit is an achene (dry, usually one-seeded, does not separate or split open at maturity)
    Legumes (Fabaceae)
    NA
    Mericarp length
    0 mm
    Mericarp segment shape (Desmodium)
    NA
    Other markings on berry
    NA
    Ovary stipe
    the ovary or fruit does not have a stipe
    Placenta arrangement
    the plant has axile placentation, in which the ovules are attached where the septa of a compound ovary are united, usually on the central axis, or to the septa themselves
    Rows of seeds in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Schizocarpic fruit compression
    NA
    Schizocarpic fruit segments
    0
    Septum in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Wings on fruit
    the fruit does not have wings on it
    prickles on fruits
    the fruits do not have thorn-like defensive structures
  • Glands or sap
    Glands on leaf blade
    the leaf blades do not have glandular dots or scales
    Sap
    the sap is clear and watery
    Sap color
    the sap is clear
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant is an herb (it has self-supporting stems)
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Parasitism
    the plant is not parasitic
    Plant color
    the leaves or young stems of the plant are green
    Spines on plant
    the plant has no spines
  • Leaves
    Bracteole number (Apiaceae)
    0
    Bracts in plantain (Plantago)
    NA
    Final leaf segment length (compound lvs only)
    0 mm
    Final leaf segment length to width ratio (compound lvs only)
    0
    Final leaf segment width (compound lvs only)
    0 mm
    Hairs on underside of leaf
    the underside of the leaf is not hairy, or it has very few hairs
    Hairs on upper side of leaf
    the upper side of the leaf is not hairy, or it has very few hairs
    Leaf arrangement
    whorled: there are three or more leaves per node along the stem
    Leaf blade base
    the leaf has no stalk
    Leaf blade base shape
    the base of the leaf blade is cuneate (wedge-shaped, tapers to the base with relatively straight, converging edges), or narrow
    Leaf blade edges
    the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
    Leaf blade length
    10–30 mm
    Leaf blade shape
    the leaf blade is linear (very narrow with more or less parallel sides)
    Leaf blade surface colors
    the upper side of the leaf blade is relatively uniform in color
    Leaf blade width
    1–3 mm
    Leaf duration
    the leaves drop off in winter (or they whither but persist on the plant)
    Leaf form
    the leaves are green, with an expanded blade and a leaf-like texture
    Leaf spines
    there are no spines on the leaf edges
    Leaf stalk
    the leaves have no leaf stalks, but attach directly to the stem
    Leaf teeth and lobes
    the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
    Leaf type
    the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Leaflet number
    0
    Leaves per node
    • there are seven or more leaves per node along the stem
    • there are six leaves per node along the stem
    Pinnately compound leaf type
    NA
    Specific leaf type
    the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Stipels
    NA
    Stipule features
    NA
    Stipules
    there are no stipules on the plant
  • Place
    Habitat
    • aquatic
    • wetlands
    New England state
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • edges of wetlands
    • in lakes or ponds
    • in rivers or streams
    • shores of rivers or lakes
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the plant does not have much of a smell
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Branched tendrils
    NA
    Flowering stem cross-section
    the flowering stem is circular, or with lots of small angles so that it is roughly circular
    Hair between stem nodes
    • the stem has hairs between the nodes
    • the stem has no hairs between the nodes
    Leaves on stem
    there is at least one full leaf above the base of the flowering stem
    Plant height
    20–100 cm
    Tendril origin
    NA
    Tendrils
    the plant does not have tendrils

Wetland Status

Occurs only in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: OBL)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
absent
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
absent
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Maine
uncommon (S-rank: S3), special concern (code: SC)
New Hampshire
rare (S-rank: S2), threatened (code: T)
Vermont
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), endangered (code: E)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Egeria densa:
stems submersed and flowers pedicellate and projected to the surface of the water by an elongate floral tube (vs. H. vulgaris, with stems upright, emersed from the water, and flowers sessile in the axils of leaves).
Hydrilla verticillata:
leaves with serrulate margins and prickles along the abaxial midvein (vs. H. vulgaris, with leaves with entire margins and lacking prickles).

Genus

Hippuris

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Hippuris vulgaris L. N

common mare’s-tail. MA, ME, NH, VT. Muddy or peaty shores and shallow, still or slow-moving water of streams, ponds, backwater sloughs, and pools.