Lupinus perennis production field

Submerged Aquatic Species, an In-Depth Look

Feb 14, 2017

In our last post, we described our new submerged aquatic vegetation production and provided some information about various Potamogeton species. Here is a short overview of some of the other species we will have available this spring.

Elodea canadensis (Common Waterweed)

Common waterweed, growing in production tanks

Common Waterweed growing in production tanks

Need some quick aquatic cover in your restoration project?  Elodea may be a good choice. It rapidly establishes a densely covered habitat for young fish, amphibians, and invertebrates, not to mention waterfowl love to eat it! It thrives in a wide range of depths since the plants are capable of reaching lengths of 9 feet. Elodea primarily spreads vegetatively. The parent plants begin rooted into the mud and as they grow, adventitious roots grow along the stem. In the fall, these leafy side stalks detach, float away, root elsewhere, and start new colonies making it an efficient and prolific spreader.

Vallisneria americana (Eelgrass)

Vallisneria americana is another high quality aquatic perennial.  It grows a deep root system and spreads primarily by runners forming beautiful “underwater meadows.”  These “meadows” act as a refuge and nursery for juvenile fish, they are great at stabilizing shorelines, and they improve the water quality through filtration.  Vallisneria americana, though a freshwater plant, has also been shown to tolerate higher salinity levels than its other aquatic counterparts, which may be advantageous in a remediation setting. 

Brasenia schreberi (Water Shield)

Water shield in bloom

Water shield in bloom, photo provided by Tony Troche, Cardno Senior Project Scientist

Brasenia schreberi grows happily in shallow lakes, ponds, and slow-moving streams, particularly those with somewhat acidic water. The juvenile plants are completely submersed, and it grows waxy floating leaves as adults. Each plant produces a lovely purple flower that blooms between June and September. Water shield spreads primarily though rhizomes and specialized buds that break away from the mother plant but are capable of producing viable seed as well, making them excellent spreaders. An interesting feature of water shield is the mucilage that covers the underwater portions of the plant. It feels like thick jelly and is thought to be a defensive trait against herbivores. Water shield does possess phytotoxic properties that allow it to inhibit the growth of plants nearby. This provides the potential for growing dense colonies that can act as a natural control against exotic invasive weeds.

In the future, we plan on making other species available for sale. If you have any questions about submerged aquatic vegetation, or any of the species we sell, please contact our sales staff at 574.586.2412 or email nurserysales@cardno.com