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.

Common rush group close up.

Common Rush

Common rush has straight, hollow stems two to four feet tall, no leaves, and brown clusters of flowers that grow out of the sides of the stems.
Common pipewort coming out of the water.

Common Pipewort

Common pipewort has grass like leaves and little white globes atop the stems that can grow up to three and a half feet tall.
Cogongrass in field.


The narrow leaves of cogongrass grow directly from the rhizomes; they are light green when young and turn orange to brown as they age.
Chinese water chestnut growing in mud.

Chinese Water Chestnut Plant

The Chinese water chestnut plants is a rush like plant that has tall bright green stems, spiky white flowers, and edible tubers.
Carolina pony's foot dark green close up.

Carolina Pony’s Foot

Carolina pony’s foot grows in mud with short stems. Green leaves have a gap in the middle, giving the shape of a horse’s hoof.
Bur marigold flowers and leaves close up.

Bur Marigold

Bur marigold has round green stems and can grow nearly four feet tall. Leaves have toothed edges. Bright yellow flowers have eight to 15 petals.
Blue waterleaf flowers and buds.

Blue Waterleaf

Blue waterleaf has thick stems that grow up to three feet tall and have spines on them. Bright blue to purple flowers have five petals. Leaves are pointy.
Blue flag at water's edge with bridge in background.

Blue Flag

Blue flag has long narrow green leaves that arch and shows blue or indigo flowers.
Asian marshweed with one flower starting to bloom.

Asian Marshweed

Asian marshweed has frilly submersed leaves, oval emersed leaves, and small lavender flowers with an upper lip.
Arrowleaf elephant ear group.

Arrowleaf Elephant Ear

Elephant ear has gigantic leaves that can be six feet long. The plants can grow to nine feet tall.
Aquatic forget me not large cluster with flowers.

Aquatic Forget Me Not

Aquatic forget me not has lance shaped leaves and pale blue flowers that have five petals each and a yellow center.
American water willow growing in a line in a lake.

American Water Willow

American water willow has round stems and alternate sword shaped leaves. Flowers have four petals that are violet or white; the bottom one has pink spots.
American water plantain growing at edge of pond.

American Water Plantain

American water plantain grows on muddy banks and has green elliptical shaped leaves with small pink or white flowers.
American lotus in group with buds and flowers.

American Lotus

American lotus has huge round green leaves that may be cupped above the water slightly and yellow flowers with a cone shaped seed pod in the center.
American featherfoil single plant.

American featherfoil

American featherfoil has finely divided floating leaves and inflated flower stems standing in groups above the water with small white flowers.
Alligatorweed group with flowers growing out of pond edge.


Alligatorweed grows close to the ground with reddish stems and sword shaped green leaves.
Many groups of Nitella in water with leaves and a stick.


Nitellas are multicellular branched algae that look like other green submersed plants or Chara.
Cyanobacteria on shore and on rocks.


Cyanobacteria are toxic bacteria that look like blue green algae: mats of green, blue, brown, or purplish red floating on the water.
Blue green algae swirling across pond.

Blue Green Algae

Blue green algae can be green, brown, or reddish purple looking in the water.
Starry stonewort algae in hand with bulbs

Starry Stonewort

Starry Stonewort resembles a submerged plant and can be identified by the little white stars amongst the gelatin green branches.