Pond Weed Identification and Aquatic Weed Types
Ponds grow a variety of pond weed types, many of which look similar. The aquatic weed identification information below lists the most common weed types -- including emergent, submerged, and floating weeds -- to help you explore and identify aquatic weeds in your pond or lake.
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Floating Plants & Algae
Algae is commonly referred to as "pond scum" or "pond moss" and typically forms greenish mats upon the water's surface.
Duckweed floats wherever the wind or currents take it, absorbing nutrients from the leaf undersurface and a very fine root hanging from it.
Watermeal is small in size and free floating. It is the world’s smallest flowering plant and resembles small grains of green cornmeal.
Water Hyacinth can grow in height to 1 meter above water the surface and is supported by an erect stalk with a single spike of 8 to 15 flowers.
Water lettuce is an aquatic weed commonly found in the southeast region of the United States. It grows in expansive mats that block sunlight to submerged aquatic plants, leading to lowered levels of bio-diversity.
Eurasian milfoil is an exotic invasive submersed perennial. It reproduces both vegetatively and, less commonly, sexually (seeds). A single piece of fragmented Eurasian milfoil can multiply into 250 million new plants in one year!
Hydrilla is a submerged aquatic plant from the genus Hydrilla. Hydrilla stems are up to 25 feet long and branched with oppositely arranged leaves at the bottom. Upper portions of the Hydrilla plant can have 2 to 8 whorls of leaves around the stem.
Curly-Leaf Pondweed appears reddish-brown in the water, but is actually green when examined out of water. Its leaves are wavy, stiff and crinkled, with a “crispy” texture (0.5 in. wide and 2-3 in. long).
Clasping-leaf pondweed can be easily identified by its thin, delicate, oval shaped leaves. The leaves are wide and wavy with a broad base that 'clasps' the stem.
Coontail lacks true roots, though it may be loosely anchored to the sediment by pale modified leaves. The central stem of the plant is hollow. The plant's dark green leaves are 1-3 cm long and are spiny and forked.
Naiads are perrenial freshwater plants that like to grow in standing waters. The majority of their growth is done typically in the spring and early summer.
Sago Pondweed is a very common species of submersed plant that is found in both lakes and ponds. It’s usually found in depths of 1-2 meters and is a bottom-rooting species.
Cattails are thickly rooted with leaf blades that are long and strap-like flat, about 1" wide, and rounded on the back. The slender stalks range between 3' and 10' tall and are topped by a cigar-shaped "cattail" called a catkin.
The yellow water lily has large heart-shaped leaves between 8 and 16 inches that float on the surface. Leaf veins extend laterally from midrib. It's flower is bright yellow, with a single row of petals.
Watershield is a rooted plant that floats on the surface similar to water lilies. Watershield leaves are typically between one inch and two inches across.
Phragmites were at one point considered an invasive and exotic species in North America, however, recent evidence has shown that the plants are actually native.
Purple loosestrife is an invasive species that grows along the edges of slow moving water bodies. The plants can grow as tall as 2 meters with 30-50 stems.
Bulrush is a perennial, emergent, grass-like wetland plant often found growing in large colonies. Bulrush may have a round shaped stem, often hollow, and without leaves.