Isoetes lacustris Linnaeus
large-spored quillwort

Family: Isoetaceae
plant plant leaf base with sporangium cross-section of leaf

The genus Isoetes is easy to recognize, but the distinctions between species are more challenging. Fortunately we have only two species in Wisconsin, of the 24 species reported for North America. The most reliable means of identifying the species of Isoetes requires observation of the megaspores with a microscope. Megaspores of I. echinospora are covered with numerous spines, and are easily distinguished from the curving ridges of I. lacustris megaspores.

I. lacustris grows on lake beds, usually completely submersed in the water and often overlooked. The water must be reasonably clear to allow Isoetes to grow on the lake bed and most known locations are of oligotrophic lakes (i.e. of low productivity) with slightly acid water.

Key to Ferns

Introduction to Ferns

Glossary of terms

List of all Pteridophytes

Explanation of page features

Contact the author