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Pedunculate Water Starwort

Callitriche brutia

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Callitrichaceae (Water Starwort)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
50 centimetres tall
Ditches, mudflats, ponds, water, wetland.

Green, no petals
Tiny, greenish and insignificant (barely noticeable). Solitary or paired at the bases of the leaves.
Roughly spherical in shape, up to 2mm in diameter. The fruits are narrowly winged.
An aquatic plant with opposite, linear leaves that are slightly notched at their ends (as with most but not all Water Starworts). The leaves of Pedunculate Water Starwort can be floating or submerged. The leaf tips are horned, similar in appearance to a spanner.
Other Names:
Water Starwort.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Callitriche brutia is a species of flowering plant in the family Callitrichaceae. It is commonly known as the pedunculate water-starwort or the water starwort. It is an aquatic plant native to Europe and North Africa, and it can be found in aquatic habitats such as pools, ruts, and mudflats. It typically has dimorphic leaves, with the lower leaves being linear and up to 6–30 millimeters long and 0.5–1 millimeter wide, with a single vein. The flowers are small, white, and grow in clusters. The plant tends to be annual or perennial, and it is typically found in ephemeral pools, ruts, and poached mudflats.


Pedunculate Water Starwort (Callitriche brutia) is a species of aquatic plant that belongs to the Callitrichaceae family. It is native to Europe and Asia, but can also be found in other parts of the world as an introduced species.

The Pedunculate Water Starwort is a submerged plant that grows in slow-moving or still water, such as ponds, ditches, and canals. It can form dense underwater meadows and is an important food source for water insects, mollusks, and fish.

The plant has a stem that can grow up to 30 centimeters long and has several leaves that are narrow and elongated, with a pointed tip. The leaves are usually arranged in pairs and can vary in color from green to reddish. The plant produces small flowers that are arranged in spikes and are usually green or brown.

Pedunculate Water Starwort is considered a tough and resilient plant and is easy to cultivate. It is often used in water gardening and for the restoration of aquatic habitats. It can also be used for bioremediation, as it can absorb and remove excess nutrients from the water, improving water quality and reducing algae growth.

Overall, the Pedunculate Water Starwort is a valuable plant for its ecological and horticultural importance. Its presence in aquatic habitats can also be an indicator of water quality, as it is sensitive to pollutants and changes in water chemistry.

In addition to its ecological and horticultural benefits, the Pedunculate Water Starwort is also used for medicinal purposes. In traditional medicine, decoctions made from the plant have been used to treat various ailments, including digestive problems, respiratory disorders, and skin infections.

However, it's important to note that the use of Pedunculate Water Starwort for medicinal purposes is not supported by scientific evidence, and more research is needed to determine the safety and effectiveness of its use. As with any plant used for medicinal purposes, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional before using it to treat any health condition.

The Pedunculate Water Starwort is also a popular choice for aquarists, as it provides hiding places and oxygenation for aquatic animals. It can be used in both fresh and saltwater aquariums, and it is a great alternative to traditional aquatic plants, as it does not require special lighting or care.

The Pedunculate Water Starwort is a versatile and valuable plant that offers many benefits to the environment, horticulture, and aquarists. Its tough and resilient nature, combined with its ability to improve water quality and provide habitat for aquatic animals, makes it a great choice for those looking to enhance their aquatic environment.

In addition to its practical benefits, the Pedunculate Water Starwort is also an interesting plant to study and observe. Its unique underwater growth habit, along with its delicate flowers and leaves, make it a fascinating plant to watch in its natural environment.

For nature enthusiasts and scientists, the Pedunculate Water Starwort can be an important component in understanding and monitoring aquatic ecosystems. Its presence or absence in a body of water can indicate changes in water quality and conditions, and can provide valuable information for conservation and management efforts.

It's also worth mentioning that the Pedunculate Water Starwort is a food source for some migratory birds, such as ducks, geese, and swans, which can play a critical role in maintaining healthy bird populations.

In conclusion, the Pedunculate Water Starwort is a versatile and valuable plant that offers many benefits to the environment, horticulture, aquarists, and nature enthusiasts. Whether you're interested in improving water quality, providing habitat for aquatic animals, or simply observing and studying aquatic plants, the Pedunculate Water Starwort is a great choice to consider.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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