Stop 8: Plants by the Pond
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 Cattails and Sedges along the pond margin

Common Cattail (Typha latifolia) and sedges are prominent plants at the pond's edge. Where you see cattails growing, you can be sure that you will find fresh rather than brackish water. The freshwater wetland community at the pond is made up of different species than those found in salt marshes or uplands.


Look for the low-growing marsh pennywort (Hydrocotyle umbellata) hidden beneath taller plants:

marsh pennywort

At the pond margins, swamp loosestrife (Decodon verticillatus) spreads by producing a shoot that grows about one meter (three feet) tall, then bends downward until it reaches the water where the shoot's soft, spongy tips will form roots:

swamp loosestrife in the pond
pimpernel in flowerfalse pimpernel in flower

You may also find Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis) [left] and false pimpernel (Lindernia dubia) [right], two small plants that look similar until their flowers bloom.


Another common pond plant is pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata), which has bluish-purple flowers and heart-shaped leaves, which you may see getting munched on by woolly bear caterpillars during the summer. The pond at the Field Station is also a habitat for marsh skullcap (Scutellaria galericulata) and dodder (Cuscuta spp.), a parasitic plant with no apparent leaves and stems that are orange due to a lack of chlorophyll. The species of dodder at the pond favors swamp loosestrife as its wetland host.

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Back to the start of the trail Harbor and Barrier Spit Stop 3: Beach Erosion The Ospreys Mowing and Succession Stop 6: How Plants Reproduce The Tangled Web of Vines Plants by the Pond Hidden Treasures at the Pond Wrack Lines at the Beach Folger's Salt Marsh

     The Nantucket Field Station Virtual Nature Trail is a joint effort of the following departments: Biology, Computer Science, Earth & Geographic Sciences, and ECOS. UMass Boston Home Page

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