Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Marsh Mermaid-weed - Proserpinaca palustris   L.
Members of Haloragaceae:
Members of Proserpinaca with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Haloragales » Family Haloragaceae
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DistributionCoastal Plain, Sandhills, and eastern and central Piedmont; disjunct to floodplain pools in Buncombe and Henderson counties. Otherwise seemingly absent in the western 40% of the state.

N.S., to southern Ont. and MN, south to FL and TX; Mex., W.I., C.A.
AbundanceFrequent to common in the Coastal Plain; frequent in the Piedmont; rare in the Mountains. The website editors suggest a revised State Rank of S5.
HabitatFresh to fresh-tidal water of marshes, interdune marshes, floodplain pools, oxbows and meander channels, swamp forests, impoundment shores, ditches, canals.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting June-October.
IdentificationMarsh Mermaid-weed is a sprawling plant 6 inches to 2 feet long, growing in very shallow water. As water recedes and plants become stranded, 1-several stems reach upward and produce tiny flowers in leaf axils followed by greenish white capsules. Submersed leaves are divided into fine segments, whereas emersed leaves are linear to lance-shaped and merely toothed. Emersed leaves of Combleaf Mermaid-weed (P. pectinata) are deeply cut into narrow pinnate segments.
Taxonomic CommentsSeveral taxa (varieties) have been split from P. palustris, but all show extensive overlap such that ID is problematic. Taxon editors follow Weakley (2018) in not recognizing any. When mature, NC plants are rarely if ever confused with P. pectinata.

Other Common Name(s)Common Mermaid-weed
State RankS4 [S5]
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
USACE-agcpOBL link
USACE-empOBL link
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B.A. SorrieWhispering Pines, roadside ditch at swamp edge, Sept 2015. MoorePhoto_natural
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