Chara Algae

Other Common Names: muskgrass


Chara appears like a submerged plant, but it is not truly rooted. Chara is branched with whorls of leaf-like structures.


These gray green branched algae are often mistaken for a plant because they have stem and leaf like structures. The leaf like structures are whorled around the stem at mostly even intervals. Chara has a foul almost garlic like or musky scent that becomes more prominent when it is crushed. This is where it gets its common name of muskgrass from. The texture of these algae are very grainy, and when left in the sun for just a few hours will turn ashy and grey from calcium deposits. Chara does not flower and can form large colonies in the water. Chara grows in shallow clear water.


Two key features that differentiate Chara from other aquatic plants are its smell and texture.


Chara can be found across the United States.


spores, fragments