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A Quick Field Guide to Native and Invasive Aquatic Plants

Aquatic Plants of Canada Lakes


Native Aquatic Plants found frequently in our Lake
The White or Fragrant Water Lily (Nymphaea odorata) is common in our
lake and grows in quiet water up to two meters deep. The leaves are
nearly round more so than either the Little Floating Heart or or the
Spatterdock. The leaf size is usually intermediate between the former
two measuring 10 to 30 cm in diameter and containing a wedge-shaped
notch. The tops of the leaves are green the underside reddish purple.
The fragrant flowers are 7-20 cm in diameter with numerous white
petals arranged in circular clusters. Please avoid picking or paddling through these lilies.
Little floating heart (Nymphoides cordata): This is a common
lilly pad in our lake with heart-shaped leaves 1.5 to 5cm wide. Each
leaf is supported by a single stem. Blossoms are small, about 1cm in
diameter, that form in July.DSC 0008
Spatterdock (Nuphar variegata): Grows in water dapths of up to
two meters has large heart-shaped leaves 7 to 40cm long. Each stalk
supports one leaf. Flowers are yellow and ball shaped with 5 to 6
petals.DSC 0034
A pond weed (Potamogeton spirillus): There are several species of
pond weeds in the lake. All have eliptical leaves (greenish brown) that
float at the surface. This one grows in water that is up to a couple
of meters deep and has slender submerged stems with few if any
submerged leaves. DSC 0029
This is another species of pondweed that has an extensive
submerged leaf system and sometimes few to no surface leaves. This
species lives in shallow water usually less than a meter deep. DSC 0057
This plant, Pickerel weed, is common along marshy shore
lines and has a purple flower in late July and August. DSC 0033
This picture shows two types of grasses native to our lake.
One extends to and lies on the surface of the water the second, which
is less obvious in the back ground, is always submerged. Both can form
thick patches in water less than 2 meters deep. DSC 0037


Bladderwort probably Common Bladderwort (Utricularia macrorhiza): This plant is most commonly mistaken for Eurasian Water Milfoil, however it is very different. The leaves are arranged alternately along the stem while the leaves of EWM are arranged in whorls (see DSC 0753). The bladderworts have transparent or dark bladders arranged along the edges of the leaves. They capture small insects with their bladders that they use to supplement their nutrient intake from the water. The bladders become dark as they age.The flower is emergent, yellow and looks like a snapdragon. DSC 0048 and DSC 0063
Invasive Species not native to our Lake
Eurasian Water-Milfoil is the most likely invasive plant to
appear in our lakes. Leaves are arranged in whorls along the stem with
3 to 6 leaves per whorl (4 leaves per whorl are common). The leaf
whorls are arranged along the stem with 1 to 3 cm between them. The
leaves have 12 to 24 paired leaflets. The tips of the leaves often
blunt and have a "snipped off" appearance. It can grow in water up to
10 meters deep. The specimen photographed came from Tuxedo Lake. DSC 0753
Variable water-milfoil has densely packed whorls of leaves soit has a bottle brush appearance. Generally 4 to 6 leaves per whorl
and the leaves have 5 to 14 pairs of thread- like leaflets on each leaf. Stems are green to reddish in color. The specimens in the photograph came from Lake Durant in the Adirondacks. DSC 0017
Yellow Floating Heart:

See also New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Common Aquatic Invasive Species of New York.