Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Two-headed Water-starwort - Callitriche heterophylla   Pursh
Members of Plantaginaceae:
Members of Callitriche with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Callitrichales » Family Plantaginaceae
DistributionThroughout the Coastal Plain, except very scarce along the immediate coast. Present over the eastern Piedmont, and much of the Mountains, but oddly scarce in the western Piedmont.

This is a very widespread species, from eastern Canada south to southern FL and CA.
AbundanceCommon in the Coastal Plain except for coastal areas, where rare to uncommon. Uncommon to fairly common in the eastern Piedmont, as well as in much of the Mountains; however, seemingly quite rare in the central and western Piedmont.
HabitatThis is an aquatic species, of pools, ponds, slow-moving streams, canals, and wet ditches.
PhenologyFlowers and fruits from March to October.
IdentificationThis aquatic plant has a stem only about 6 inches long, typically with the lower leaves submerged and upper ones floating on the water surface; all are opposite. The submerged leaves are linear and only about 1/4-inch long, whereas the emergent leaves are spatulate or obovate, barely longer than 1/3-inch, with a tapering base. In fact, these emergent leaves are often crowded to appear a bit whorled. As the flowers have no petals and sepals, it is the fruits that are important for identification. The fruits, in axils, are "reversed heart-shaped", with a cleft in the top between rounded lobes at the apex. Nonetheless, the fruits are barely 1/15-inch long -- i.e., nearly microscopic. Those in this species are longer than wide, though it is better separated from the other two NC species by the leaves of two shapes -- linear submerged and spatulate emergent, as opposed to all leaves spatulate or obovate with rounded tips in the other two.
Taxonomic CommentsThe taxon in NC is the nominate one -- C. heterophylla var. heterophylla.

Other Common Name(s)Large Water-starwort, Common Water-starwort
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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B.A. SorrieWhispering Pines, tributary of Thagard Lake. 28 March 2015. MoorePhoto_natural
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