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Weeds Watch Out:  Biology/Ecology

Plant Biology/Ecology

What are the Types of Aquatic Plants?

  • Emergent- Found in the shallow water and has a large portion of stems and leaves growing above (emerging from) the water surface

    • Tolerate flunctuating water levels

    • Interlocking roots anchor sediment and reduce erosion

    • Provide great nesting material

    • Examples are cattails and arrowleaf

      Cattails and Arrowleaf, Amy D'Angelo, Cayuga County Department of Planning
      Cattails and Arrowleaf, Amy D'Angelo, Cayuga County Department of Planning


  • Floating- Have leaves that float on top of the water

    • Can be rooted (connected to the bottom by a stem) or free floating (not attached to the bottom)

    • Leaf shape and texture that resists tearing

    • Examples are duck weed (free floating) and water lily (rooted)


      Waterlilies, Kelly E. Somerlot, Onondaga County CCE
      Waterlilies, Kelly E. Somerlot, Onondaga County CCE


  • Submersed- Grow underwater

    • Limp out of water

    • Little or no cuticle facilitates gas exchange between plant and water

    • Submerged leaves often dissected

    • Examples are Eurasian watermilfoil, Curly-leafed pondweed, and Hydrilla

      Eurasian watermilfoil.  Robert Johnson, Cornell University.  Ruthanna Hawkins, Cayuga Lake Watershed Network.  Used with permission.
      Eurasian watermilfoil. Robert Johnson, Cornell University. Ruthanna Hawkins, Cayuga Lake Watershed Network. Used with permission.

What Are the Benefits of Aquatic Plants?
  • Provide habitat for fish, bird, insects

  • Provide shade, shelter & foraging opportunities for fish

  • Photosynthesize which oxygenates the water

  • Stabilize sediments

  • Absorb nutrients

  • Slow down water

  • Can be aesthetically pleasing
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Page updated on September 21, 2005.