Weed Control

How to Control Aquatic Weed Types and Aquatic Plants

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.

For those looking for weed control solutions, Lake Restoration has developed all-in-one pond and lake weed control kits that make it unnecessary to identify the type of weeds in your pond. Feel free to use the information below to facilitate your pond weed identification goals, or contact us today to talk to our customer support team about the right control product for your pond or lake.

Visual example of types of aquatic weeds, including submersed weeds, free floating weeds, emergent weeds, rooted floating weeds, algae, and excess nutrients.

Red algae all over in water.

Red Algae

Red algae can give the water a red or reddish brown hue but can also be green.
Isolated close up of leafy pondweed on white background.

Leafy Pondweed

Leafy pondweed has thread like branching stems. Submersed leaves are green to bronze, thin, and linear. Brown flowers grow in clusters.
Horned pondweed floating in a cluster at the surface of the water.

Horned Pondweed

Horned pondweed roots, stems, and leaves are all long and thread like. It has tiny single flowers in May or June. The seeds are horn shaped.
Pondweed floating on water with emergent buds.


Floating leaves are often rounded and leathery while submersed leaves are translucent and narrow. Some pondweeds do not produce floating leaves at all.
Mat of widgeon grass floating at the surface of the water.

Widgeon Grass

Widgeon grass has thin branched stems and sharp pointed leaves that are thread like. Flower spikes can emerge slightly and are brown to yellow.
Small cluster of quillworts growing underwater.


Quillwort leaves are quill like and grow from one central stand in swampy areas. Leaves are arranged in a spiral.
Indian swampweed underwater.

Indian Swampweed

Indian swampweed has compound leaves with opposite leaflets that can be emersed or submersed and are broader at the tip. This plant is uncommon.
Duck lettuce floating in water with leaves and two flowers.

Duck Lettuce

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.
Isolated brittle naiad on white background.

Brittle Naiad

Brittle naiad has dark green leaves with serrated edges. Leaves grow two-tenths of an inch long. Flowers can grow to three-fourths of an inch.
Pond water starwort in shallow water.

Pond Water Starwort

Pond water starwort has long, thin submersed leaves and floating leaves that resemble a four-leaf clover. White flowers are held above water.
Floating crystalwort close up.

Floating Crystalwort

Floating crystalwort forms green mats under or on the water’s surface. The stem and leaves all look the same with forked branches.
Close up of yellowcress flowers in the process of budding.


Yellowcress has branched stems with elongated or sword/oval shaped leaves. Flowers grow on the same branches as leaves and have four bright yellow petals.
Yellow floating heart leaves on water with flowers sticking out.

Yellow Floating Heart

Yellow floating heart has long leaf stalks and alternate leaves that float on the water. Bright yellow flowers have five petals that look frayed.
Small group of yellow flag along the water.

Yellow Flag

Yellow flag has tall leaves, three to four feet, that arch at the upper parts and come to a point. Yellow flowers are big and showy, with many on each stem.
Wild rice groups growing in shallow water.

Wild Rice

Annual wild rice: Annual wild rice has tall thick stems, large strap like leaves, branching flowers up to two feet long, and yellow or reddish fruits (edible gr...
Cluster of wild taro.

Wild Taro

Wild taro leaf stalks grow directly from the seeds and rarely reach four feet tall. Leaves are succulent and often purplish near the top.
Watercress over water.


Watercress stems and leaves are medium green. Young leaves are simple while mature leaves are compound with three to 11 leaflets.
Close up of water wisteria in a group.

Water Wisteria

This aquarium plant can be completely submersed or emerge from the surface. Water wisteria has fern like stems and light green leaves.
Water spinach in large group covering water.

Water Spinach

Water spinach is a trailing vine with milky sap. Alternate leaves are usually arrowhead shaped and grow to seven inches long with pointed tips.
Water clover group floating on water.

Water Clover

Water clover is a type of fern that looks like a four leaf clover. Two toned leaves have four lobes that may be above or below the water’s surface.