Duck Lettuce

Other Common Names:

(Ottelia alismoides)


Young duck lettuce leaves are linear and become oblong, oval, or heart shaped as they mature. Some flowers stand above the surface with white petals.


Young leaves of duck lettuce are somewhat linear then become oblong, oval, or even heart shaped as they mature. The largest leaves grow four and one-third to six and one-third inches long. Leaf bases taper to meet the leaf stalks. Leaf stalks vary but can be as long as 20 inches. The lower parts of the leaves and edges of the leaf stalks are often slightly serrated to sharply toothed. The upper surface of the leaves looks quilted from ribbing that goes along and across the leaves. Flowers that are self-fertile remain submersed. Male flowers emerge slightly from the water’s surface. Flowers grow from green cylindrical structures that have three or more ruffled wings. Petals are usually white but can be tinged pink, purple, or blue and have a yellow base. Fleshy fruits contain as many as 2,000 seeds, which is how duck lettuce reproduces exclusively.


This plant is not widespread but has the potential to be. It can interfere with rice production.


Duck lettuce can be found in California, Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Florida.