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Eriocaulon parkeri B.L. Robins.

Photo: Eriocaulon parkeri

Parker's Pipewort

Habitat: Fresh to brackish tidal mud and estuaries. [Tidal wetland (non-forested, wetland)]

Range: Virginia to Maine, estuaries of the St. Lawrence River, Quebec. Has become rare as far south as Connecticut; its Maine populations are particularly significant as they are at the northern edge of its range. It is rare anywhere in Canada, also rare in New York and Pennsylvania.

Photo: Eriocaulon parkeri

Aids to Identification: Parker's pipewort looks like a diminutive version of the common pipewort (E. aquaticum) which is found in shallow freshwater throughout the northeast. Parker's pipewort, however, grows only 5-10 cm high, with narrow lance-shaped leaves in a basal rosette. Its hemispherical flower heads, each borne on a scape above the foliage, are like small white buttons, measuring 3-4 mm wide. The inflorescences of E. aquaticum are subglobose and measure 4-5 mm wide.

Ecological characteristics: Grows primarily on fresh tidal mudflats, and is often visible only at low tide. It may occur in relatively extensive colonies, or as only a few plants.

Photo: Eriocaulon parkeri

Phenology: Flowers July - October.

Family: Eriocaulaceae

Synonyms: None noted.

Known Distribution in Maine: This rare plant has been documented from a total of 14 town(s) in the following county(ies): Cumberland, Kennebec, Lincoln, Penobscot, Sagadahoc, York.

Dates of documented observations are: 1924, 1937 (2), 1979, 1983 (2), 1985 (3), 1986, 1990 (4), 1992, 1994, 1995 (2), 1996 (2), 1998 (11), 1999 (2), 2000, 2001, 2002 (5)

Photo: Eriocaulon parkeri

Reason(s) for rarity: Unknown; at northern edge of its range.

Conservation considerations: Prevent degradation of estuary habitat from adjacent land uses.

For more information, see the New England Wild Flower Society's Conservation Plan for Eriocaulon parkeri -pdf link- 128 KB.