All About Pillwort

Monday, August 6th 2018

I admit that we do get excited about creepy crawlies and bugs and beasties and we don't leave out the plants, colourful, large, small and green.  Falling into the green category is Pillwort.  This rare fern grows in water or in mud at the edges of ponds.  It also grows in deeper water sending its roots down to the silt. 

You can see the unfurling fronds in this photograph.


Land ferns produce the spores on the back of the fronds, but Pillwort develops its spores in small round pills, growing where the frond rises vertically from the horizontal stem. 

Pillwort 'pills'

A project of the Freshwater Habitats Trust is to return Pillwort to ponds where it once grew and also to translocate some to other ponds in areas where it is growing.  With this brief we checked that 'our' Pillwort was still growing on the wetland and we were pleased to note that not only was it still there but its area had increased.

Two years ago a small amount had been placed in another pond and it is thriving. We marked its location and its GPS was also recorded.

Marking the Pillwort

Two weeks ago some Pillwort, from our ponds, grown in containers was transplanted into Plover's Pool.  Some more was added today.  We will monitor all our areas of Pillwort to see how it develops.  All our information will be sent to the Freshwater Habitats Trust.

Planting Pillwort

Thank you to Anne Carter of the Freshwater Habitats Trust for her guidance and support.

Whilst working, a Water Scorpion was found, unfortunately it was covered in mud so instead of being nice shiny black it was dull brown.

Water Scorpion

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