Clasping-leaf pondweed has short leaves with pointed tips that clasp around the stem.
Clasping-leaf pondweed can be identified by its thin, delicate, oval-shaped leaves. The leaves are wide and wavy with a broad base that clasps around the stem half to three-quarters of the way around. The edges of the leaves are smooth and the tip comes to a point. Dark green to brownish leaves have 13-21 veins, are one to five inches long and a half inch to one inch wide. Because of mineral deposits in the hard water in the northern half of the U.S., leaves may appear brown in color. Flower spikes may be above or below the water’s surface and are three-quarters to one and a half inches tall with greenish-brown flowers. The small clustered flowers are in four to 12 whorls. Branching stems on clasping-leaf pondweed can be up to ten feet long and have white rhizomes with brown spots.
Clasping-leaf pondweed can sometimes be confused with curly-leaf pondweed. One way to tell the two species apart is to look at the tips of the leaves. Curly-leaf tips are rounded with small teeth on the edges while clasping-leaf tips are blunt and pointed. Clasping-leaf pondweed and Richardson’s pondweed are also very similar. Richardson’s pondweed has a cluster of white fibers at the base of the leaves and doesn’t grown quite as large as clasping-leaf pondweed.
Clasping-leaf pondweed can be found in much of the eastern half of the United States.