Wild calla Water horsetail
Calla palustris Equisetum fluviatile  
n = 1
III.B.3.a. Fresh Herb Marsh
Ecosystem:  Kettle


Wild calla - water horsetail has not been described for Alaska.  Water horsetail (Equisetum fluviatile) communities are common (Ritchie, et. al., 1981; Racine, 1978b; Young and Racine, 1976), but this type is a nearly pure stand of wild calla (Calla palustris), with low water horsetail abundance.

Wild calla water horsetail was found at one unusual location northeast of Nikiski along the shore of Suneva lake.  Suneva Lake was created when a road dammed its outlet stream flooding a peatland.  This community has colonized a flooded area between the lakeshore and a small island.  It seems to be persistent there.  

Dense wild calla is growing through a saturated moss mat.  Robust silvery sedge (Carex canescens, a frequent disturbance indicator on the lowlands), bluejoint (Calamagrostis canadensis), Sitka sedge (Carex sitchensis), western water hemlock (Cicuta douglasii), and marsh fivefinger (Comarum palustre) are present in low abundance, along with a little Sphagnum spp. moss.  A few paper birch (Betula papyrifera) and balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera) snags are present.  

The saturated 83 cm thick organic mat lies over a dense silty-gravelly substrate.  We measured the pH as strongly acid (5.3).  This site is a jurisdictional wetland.

Table 1.  Summary of plant cover.

      Wetland Indicator Status


 % Cover   Alaska National
Calla palustris 80.0 OBL OBL
Carex canescens   5.0 OBL FACW+, OBL
Equisetum fluviatile 4.0 OBL OBL
Comarum palustre 0.5 OBL OBL
Cicuta douglasii   0.5 OBL OBL
Calamagrostis canadensis   0.5 FAC FAC, OBL
Carex stipata  0.5 OBL OBL
Sphagnum spp. 5.0      


 Introduction and Key to Plant Communities  

Introduction and Key to Ecosystems

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Contact: Mike Gracz
Kenai Watershed Forum 
PO Box 15301
Fritz Creek, AK  99603
The Alaska Natural Heritage Program
Environment and Natural Resource Institute
University of Alaska, Anchorage
707 A Street, Suite 101
Anchorage, Alaska  99501

04 May 2007 09:39