Engelmann’s Quillwort

Mixed population of spiny-spored (Isoetes echinospora), Eaton’s (I.xeatonii) and Engelmann’s quillwort (I .engelmannii) at Big Chute Muskoka.

Isoetes engelmannii


  • COSEWIC – Endangered.
  • COSSARO – Endangered.

Please note: There are only two known populations, one on the lower Severn and the other on the Gull River. The total number of plants known in Canada is likely under 2,000.


  • An aquatic plant, it has a cluster of weak and stringy leaves that rise from two corms.
  • Leaves usually measure 20 to 40 cm, but can extend to 90 cm.
  • Leaves often float on water or sprawl across mud flats; the corms are not usually visible, but buried in the soil.
  • Colour of the leaves varies from bright green to brownish-green.


  • Corm is anchored in sand and clay soil in shallow water along the shoreline.


  • Reproduces through spores, which mature in late summer.
  • Mixing of megaspores (female) from one plant with microspores (male) from another start new plants.
  • Spores are usually dispersed by water currents, so tend to be close to the parent plants.


  • Changes in water levels and quality.
  • Increase in water based recreational activities.
  • Toxic spills and seepage from private and public facilities are also potential threats.
  • Competition from other aquatic vegetation.
  • Abundance of Zebra Mussels.

Engelmann’s Quillwort

Conservation Actions:

For more information in the Parry Sound area, contact:

Bracebridge OMNR
1350 High Falls Road
Bracebridge , ON
P1L 1W9