Grassleaf Mudplantain


Heteranthera dubia
aka water stargrass


Granted, this is not the most compelling photo I’ve ever posted, nor is it the most interesting plant.  But I love it, perhaps because it’s unexpected, a bright yellow star in the muck. The common names describe it well.  This low-growing plant of wet places has long, narrow leaves that look like blades of grass.

Here’s a closer look:


It grows through most of the US except for some desert states. Technically it is an aquatic plant, but is known to survive for a time out of the water, so long as the soil is wet.  One source refers to a ‘terrestrial form’ but doesn’t go into any detail.

You’ll find this plant along the banks of the river in mid to late summer, as the water levels drop and the shoreline becomes more exposed.  What’s really neat is that in the Potomac Gorge, you can find it as much as 15 feet above above river level!  Like in the pothole that’s deliberately overexposed in the photo below, left of and slightly below the center.  I’ve been keeping an eye on it for several years now; as far as I can tell, it’s deep enough that it never dries out. Presumably it’s replenished by precipitation and the occasional flood.



The rock formation is one of the bedrock terraces the Gorge is known for.  And subject of a future post.

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