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W2O!: Curly-leafed Pondweed
Weeds Watch Out:  Curly-leafed Pondweed

Curly-leafed Pondweed (Potamogeton crispus)
  • Native to Eurasia, Africa, and Australia
  • Accidentally introduced to U.S. waters by hobbyists in the mid-1880s
  • Exists throughout the United States
  • Curly-leafed Pondweed
    Curly-leafed Pondweed, Robert Johnson, Cornell University. Used with permission.

  • Plant Characteristics
    • Submersed rooted perennial plant with reddish-green leaves that have distinct wavy edges
    • Plant's flat, spaghetti-like reddish-brown stems grow 1 to 3 feet long
    • Leaves are finely toothed, oblong in shape, and typically about 3 inches long
    • Spring leaves are wider than winter leaves and have wavy leaf margins
    • Spreads through fragmentation, rhizomes and from burr-like winter buds called turions
    • One of the first plants to emerge in early spring and it can grow under ice
    • Peak growth occurs in mid-June
    • Becomes dormant in July and August. This mid-summer die-off leads to loss of habitat for fish and invertebrates, can increase turbidity, and can lead to oxygen depletion, increase in nutrients and subsequent algae blooms. 
    • Forms dense vegetation mats
    • Found in lakes, ponds, and streams throughout New York State


Curly-Leaved Pondweed Look Alikes

Native Look Alike: Clasping-leaved Pondweed (Potamogeton perfoliatus)

Clasping-Leaved Pondweed Drawing, USDA, NRCS.  2004.  The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5.  Used with permission.
Clasping-Leaved Pondweed Drawing, USDA, NRCS. 2004. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5. Used with permission.
  • Plant Characteristics
    • Wide oval-shaped leaves have smooth edges
    • In shallow water, plants have thicker darker green foliage than do plants growing in deeper water
    • Leaf margins are slightly crisped
    • Basal parts of leaves clasp straight and slender plant stems
    • Found in ponds or streams