Species Profile

Water Pennywort

Scientific Name: Hydrocotyle umbellata
Other/Previous Names: Water-pennywort
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
Range: Nova Scotia
Last COSEWIC Assessment: May 2014
Last COSEWIC Designation: Special Concern
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Threatened


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Quick Links: | Photo | Description | Distribution and Population | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | Recovery Initiatives | Recovery Team | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Water Pennywort

Water Pennywort Photo 1

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Description

The Water-pennywort is a small herbaceous perennial. The slender stem of this plant creeps on sand or gravel. The small round leaves are erect or floating; the leaves which occur above the water measure 1 cm, while those which occur below the water measure 3 cm. There is sometimes a small cluster of white flowers.

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Distribution and Population

In Canada, the Water-pennywort only occurs on limited sections of the shorelines of two lakes in southwestern Nova Scotia. Kejimkujik Lake occurs in Kejimkujik National Park, and Wilsons Lake occurs in Yarmouth County, approximately 70 km southwest of Kejimkujik Lake. There are two known stands on Wilsons Lake and seven known stands on the east side of Kejimkujik Lake. Three of the seven stands at Kejimkujik Lake have been discovered since 1985. At Wilsons Lake, one stand is 800 m long and the other is 100 m long; both are several metres wide. These two populations have remained relatively stable in size since 1985. At Kejimkujik Lake, most of the seven stands are relatively small in size, one is about 200 m long and one is longer than 200 m. The unusually high number of dry summers in the park during the last decade has been beneficial to the plant. Therefore, at present, Water-pennywort populations within the park are doing well and have generally been expanding in size.

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Habitat

The Water-pennywort is found primarily on sand or gravel substrate of lake shorelines in a narrow band above or below the waterline. Natural fluctuations of water levels from year to year and within a single growing season appear to be instrumental in the continued existence of this plant, by minimizing competition from other species.

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Biology

The Water-pennywort does not flower regularly. In Canada, it sometimes flowers in August and September. The primary form of reproduction is asexual, by means of stoloniferous growth. Low levels of sexual reproduction together with limited numbers of populations limits genetic diversity of the populations and leads to poor environmental adaptability.

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Threats

Loss of habitat is the main limiting factor for the Water-pennywort. Intense use of the lakes for recreation purposes alters the habitat of the plant. Stabilization of the water level in the lakes where the Water-pennywort is found (through dams and other means) may destroy the remaining populations of this plant.

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Protection

Federal Protection

More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

The Water-pennywort occurs within Kejimkujik National Park, where it is protected by the Canada National Parks Act. It also occurs within Wilsons Lake Nature Reserve.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

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Recovery Initiatives

Status of Recovery Planning

Recovery Strategies :

Name Recovery Strategy and Management Plan for Multiple Species of Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry

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Recovery Team

Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora Recovery Team

  • Sherman Boates - Chair/Contact - Government of Nova Scotia
    Phone: 902-679-6146  Fax: 902-679-6176  Send Email
  • Samara Eaton - Chair/Contact - Environment Canada
    Phone: 506-364-5060  Fax: 506-364-5062  Send Email

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Documents

PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

9 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Water Pennywort Hydrocotyle umbellata in Canada (2014)

    Water Pennywort is a perennial herb with creeping stems that root at the nodes. The round, shallowly lobed leaves are 1-5 cm wide on erect petioles (leaf stems) attaching in the centre of the leaf. Petioles are 5-20 cm in terrestrial plants and up to 150 cm on floating leaves in standing water. The tiny, white flowers are in a round cluster at the tip of a leafless stem. Fruiting has not been seen in Canada. Water Pennywort co-occurs in southern Nova Scotia with many other disjunct species of the Atlantic Coastal Plain. This group of species is known and appreciated by many cottagers and residents. Populations in Nova Scotia are the northernmost worldwide and 410+ km from the nearest American sites.

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Water Pennywort (2015)

    This species is known from only three disjunct lakeshore locations in southern Nova Scotia, one of which was discovered since the last assessment. Alterations and damage to shorelines from shoreline development and off-road vehicles are ongoing threats, and water level management is a potential threat at one lake. Increased competition from other plants caused by eutrophication is a potential major future threat.

Recovery Strategies

  • Recovery Strategy and Management Plan for Multiple Species of Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora in Canada (2016)

    Section 37 of SARA requires the competent minister to prepare recovery strategies for listed extirpated, endangered or threatened species and Section 65 of SARA requires the competent minister to prepare management plans for special concern species. For the SARA-listed species of Special Concern, their inclusion in this combined recovery strategy and management plan will also serve in lieu of a separate management plan as required under SARA (Sections 65-67). The Province of Nova Scotia, Environment Canada, and Parks Canada Agency led the development of this document. This recovery strategy and management plan was developed in cooperation or consultation with numerous other individuals and agencies including environmental non-government organizations, industry stakeholders, aboriginal groups, and private landowners.

Action Plans

  • Action Plan for Multiple Species of Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora in Canada (2016)

    The Minister of Environment and Climate Change is the competent minister under SARA for the Pink Coreopsis, Thread-leaved Sundew, Water Pennywort, Goldencrest and Plymouth Gentian and has prepared this action plan to implement the recovery strategy, as per section 47 of SARA. The minister responsible for the Parks Canada Agency (PCA) is a competent minister for the Water Pennywort, where the species occurs on lands administered by PCA. To the extent possible, it has been prepared in cooperation with the Province of Nova Scotia, the Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora (ACPF) Recovery Team, environmental non-government organizations, industry stakeholders, aboriginal groups, and private landowners, as per section 48(1) of SARA.
  • Multi-species Action Plan for Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site of Canada (2017)

    The Multi-species Action Plan for Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site of Canada applies to lands and waters occurring within the boundaries of Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site (KNP and NHS), including Kejimkujik National Park Seaside. The plan meets the requirements for action plans set out in the Species at Risk Act (SARA (s.47)) for species requiring an action plan and that regularly occur within these sites. Measures described in this plan will also provide benefits for other species of conservation concern that regularly occur at KNP and NHS.

Management Plans

  • Recovery Strategy and Management Plan for Multiple Species of Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora in Canada (2010)

    Section 37 of SARA requires the competent minister to prepare recovery strategies for listed extirpated, endangered or threatened species and Section 65 of SARA requires the competent minister to prepare management plans for special concern species. For the SARA-listed species of Special Concern, their inclusion in this combined recovery strategy and management plan will also serve in lieu of a separate management plan as required under SARA (Sections 65-67). The Province of Nova Scotia, Environment Canada, and Parks Canada Agency led the development of this document. This recovery strategy and management plan was developed in cooperation or consultation with numerous other individuals and agencies including environmental non-government organizations, industry stakeholders, aboriginal groups, and private landowners.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2013-2014 (2014)

    Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to "assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species". COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings in this reporting year (October, 2013 to September, 2014) from November 24 to November 29, 2013 and from April 27 to May 2, 2014. During the current reporting period, COSEWIC assessed the status or reviewed the classification of 56 wildlife species. The wildlife species assessment results for the 2012-2013 reporting period include the following: Extinct: 0 Extirpated: 0 Endangered: 23 Threatened: 12 Special Concern: 20 Data Deficient: 0 Not at Risk: 1 Total: 56 Of the 56 wildlife species examined, COSEWIC reviewed the classification of 40 that had been previously assessed. The review of classification for 25 of those wildlife species resulted in a confirmation of the same status as the previous assessment.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act : Terrestrial Species - January 2015 (2015)

    The Government of Canada is committed to preventing the disappearance of wildlife species at risk from our lands. As part of its strategy for realizing that commitment, on June 5, 2003, the Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species provided for under SARA, also called the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Extirpated, Endangered and Threatened species on Schedule 1 benefit from the protection of prohibitions and recovery planning requirements under SARA. Special Concern species benefit from its management planning requirements. Schedule 1 has grown from the original 233 to 521 wildlife species at risk. Please submit your comments byApril 15, 2015, for terrestrial species undergoing normal consultationsand byOctober 15, 2015, for terrestrial species undergoing extended consultations.For a description of the consultation paths these species will undergo, please see:Species at Risk Public Registry website

Critical Habitat Descriptions in the Canada Gazette

  • Description of Critical Habitat of Water-pennywort in Kejimkujik National Park of Canada (2010)

    Water-pennywort (Hydrocotyle umbellata) is a species listed on Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act as threatened. It is a small vascular plant that is part of a larger group of taxonomically unrelated species known as Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora. Critical habitat for Water-pennywort is identified in the Recovery Strategy and Management Plan for the Multiple Species of Atlantic Coastal Plain Flora in Canada.