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Photo: Hottonia inflata

Hottonia inflata Ell.

Featherfoil

Habitat: Pools and ditches. [Open water (non-forested, wetland); Forested wetland].

Range: Florida to Texas, north to New England and west to Missouri. Rare in New York, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware.

Aids to Identification: Featherfoil is a short-lived aquatic herb with an entirely submerged, spongy, densely leafy, hollow stem. The successive segments of the stem become progressively shorter bearing a terminal umbel of racemes. The white flowers are small (5-8 cm) in whorled verticils of 2-10 at the joints. The leaves are sessile, or nearly so, oblong (2-6 cm) and divided into narrowly, linear entire segments.

Photo: Hottonia inflata

Ecological characteristics: Known populations occur in vernal pools in southern Maine. The species is believed to be a winter annual, with seeds germinating in the fall and resuming growth in the spring.

Phenology: Flowers in June.

Family: Primulaceae

Synonyms: None noted

Known Distribution in Maine: This rare plant has been documented from a total of 3 town(s) in the following county(ies): Washington, York.

Photo: Hottonia inflata

Dates of documented observations are: 1900, 1914, 1994 (2), 1996 (3), 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002

Reason(s) for rarity: Local throughout much of its range and here at its northern limit.

Conservation considerations: This plant is restricted statewide to southern Maine, and populations are vulnerable to conversion of their habitat to residential or commercial use.