This type of algae resembles a submerged plant and can be identified by the little white stars amongst the gelatin-green branches.
Starry stonewort has uneven whorled branches that look like they angle at each joint. They are light to dark green and soft to the touch (unlike Chara). Starry stonewort does not flower and can have a gelatin-like appearance.
Starry stonewort is so invasive that it can overtake exotic and native species, destroying crucial fish-spawning habitat. Muskgrasses (like Chara), other stoneworts, sago pondweed, and narrow-leaf pondweed look a little like starry stonewort. These bushy algae can be identified by the star-shaped bulb that is often cream in color at the end of each cluster of branches. A fragment or one of the little bulbs transported from one area to another can start a whole new population.
Starry stonewort can be found in certain lakes across the United States.