Plant Identification

Aquatic plants are generally divided into four groups for management purposes. These groups
are:

 Algae
 Floating Plants
 Submerged Plants
 Emergent Plants

Many ponds have more than one type of aquatic plant, and care must be taken to identify all the
aquatic plants inhabiting the pond. Some pond plants may be beneficial to local or migratory
wildlife, and therefore, may want to be encouraged or at least not eliminated.

Algae and Other Plankton

Algae are very primitive plants. Some algae are microscopic (planktonic algae). Others are thin and stringy or hair-like (filamentous algae). While still others are large and resemble higher plants but without true roots (chara).

Floating Plants

True floating plants are not attached to the bottom. Floating plants come in sizes from very small
(duckweed) to over a foot in diameter (water hyacinth). Most, but not all, have roots that hang in
the water from the floating green portions.

Submerged Plants

Submerged plants are rooted plants with most of their vegetative mass below the water surface,
although some portions may stick above the water. One discerning characteristic of submerged
plants is their flaccid or soft stems, which is why they do not usually rise above the water’s
surface.

Emergent Plant

Emergent plants are rooted plants often along the shoreline that stand above the surface of the
water (cattails). The stems of emergent plants are somewhat stiff or firm.