Curly-Leaf Pondweed

(Potamogeton crispus)


Curly-leaf pondweed has green to reddish leaves with wavy edges that have fine teeth.


Curly-leaf pondweed gets its name from the rippled or wavy nature of its submerged leaves. The leaves are less than a half inch wide and two to three inches long with tiny teeth along the edges. Leaves are slightly translucent with a reddish midrib. Floating leaves are not produced on this type of pondweed. Branching stems are reddish and thin (less than one-tenth of an inch) and can grow up to 15 feet long. Curly-leaf pondweed appears reddish–brown in the water but is actually green when observed out of the water. Curly-leaf pondweed can grow in depths up to 15 feet and tolerates low water clarity.

The little buds (turions) at the ends of some leaves look like sharp mini pinecones. Curly-leaf and clasping-leaf pondweed look similar, but clasping-leaf pondweed does not have serrated leaves or the turions that curly-leaf pondweed has. Curly-leaf pondweed grows under the ice in winter and early spring then dies back in mid-summer. The winter leaves are more translucent and bluish-green while the summer leaves are more opaque and green-to-red.


Curly-leaf pondweed can be found throughout the United States.


Turions (vegetative buds), roots. Since this species is invasive, avoid transfer of any plant material to other bodies of water.