Flowering Quillwort - Lilaea scilloides
State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Known in Montana from a couple recent collections and previously from a 1933 collection by C. L. Hitchcock about 2 miles southeast of Charlo and a 1965 collection about 1.5 miles southwest of Ninepipe Reservoir. Population sizes and trends for the species are unknown. However, addiditonal populations are likely to exist as many suitable, though un-surveyed ponds and wetlands exist across the state.
Flowering Quillwort is a tufted annual with leafless stems that are 3-20 cm high. The linear basal leaves are 2-25 cm long, are round in cross-section, and have a broad base that sheaths each flower stem. Male, female, or bisexual flowers are borne in an open spike that is 5-40 mm long and at the tops of stems, which are shorter than the leaves. Additional female flowers may be found partly enclosed by the leaf sheaths. Male and bisexual flowers consist of a green elliptic bract that is 2-3 mm long and of a single stamen and/or a single ovary. Female flowers consist of a solitary ovary. The narrowly lance-shaped fruits of the spike are 3-5 mm long, flattened, and wing-margined. Fruits borne in the leaf sheaths are cylindrical, 3-angled, and have 3 small horns at the tip.
Mature fruit in July.
The flower spikes of Triglochin are longer than the leaves. The round leaves of Lilaea scilloides could also be mistaken for Eleocharis, Scirpus or Juncus but these other genera have stamens in sets of 2, 3, or 6 rather than solitary. Flowering Quillwort could be mistaken for a wetland grass, but the flowers are very different.
Western North America south to South America; introduced in Australia.
Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations:
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(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)
Emergent or submerged in shallow water or mud around ponds in the valleys.
Ecological Systems Associated with this Species
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
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- Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.