Virtual museum of Canada
Collections from Storage: A Visit to our Hidden Treasures

American Water-willow

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This American Water-willow is a perennial plant of river and stream banks, and a native of North America. In Canada, it is found only very sporadically in Quebec and Ontario. It has been listed as a threatened species, and is now the subject of protection measures in both provinces.

The plant may reach one metre in height. At its base, it produces thick runners from the rhizomes which help to stabilize the river and stream banks. At the end of its long stems, spikes of small white and purple flowers appear along the long, fine leaves. Hidden in the heart of the flower is a cylindrical capsule. The seeds are encased in this capsule, which opens at maturity, ejecting the seeds to fall into the water.

This plant was collected in 1967 on the bank of the Rivière des Prairies, in Quebec, then mounted on this seagrass backing by Allyre Couture, professor of biology and botanical collector from Sherbrooke.

At the end of the stem of this plant, spikes of small white and purple flowers appear.

Credits : Musée de la nature et des sciences, Sherbrooke

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