Florida Aquatic Plants

Florida’s aquatic plants are highly valued as they are necessary to keep the ecosystem in balance. These plants serve as cleansing agents and help improve the water quality of the rivers, lakes, and bays in Florida. Florida’s aquatic plants include freshwater herbaceous and salt-tolerant plants that play crucial roles in maintaining water quality, providing habitat for wildlife, and contributing to the overall ecosystem health.

Water Lily (Nymphaea spp.)

Water lilies are iconic aquatic plants with large, floating leaves and showy flowers. They come in various colors, including white, pink, and yellow. Water lilies thrive in calm freshwater environments, such as ponds and marshes.

Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)

Pickerelweed is a native perennial plant that grows in shallow waters and along the edges of lakes, ponds, and marshes. It features vibrant spikes of blue to purple flowers and provides important habitat for insects, birds, and other wildlife.

Duckweed (Lemna spp.)

Duckweed is a small floating plant with tiny, round leaves that cover the surface of still water bodies. It serves as a food source for aquatic animals and helps regulate water quality by absorbing excess nutrients.

Cattails (Typha spp.)

Cattails are common emergent plants found in wetlands and along the edges of ponds, lakes, and streams. They have tall, cylindrical flower spikes and broad leaves. Cattails provide shelter and nesting sites for birds and habitat for various aquatic organisms.

Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)

While an invasive species in Florida, water hyacinth is worth mentioning due to its widespread presence. It forms dense floating mats of attractive purple flowers and can quickly dominate water bodies, negatively impacting native plants and ecosystems.

Alligatorweed (Alternanthera philoxeroides)

Another invasive aquatic plant, alligatorweed, forms dense mats along the edges of water bodies. It has small white flowers and can outcompete native vegetation, affecting water flow and reducing biodiversity.

Sawgrass (Cladium mariscus)

Sawgrass is a dominant plant in Florida’s Everglades and freshwater marshes. It features sharp-edged, grass-like leaves and plays a vital role in the Everglades ecosystem, providing habitat for numerous species and helping maintain water levels.

Water Fern (Azolla spp.)

Water ferns are small floating plants that form dense mats on the water’s surface. They have delicate, branching foliage and help in nutrient absorption, providing habitat for small organisms.

Tape Grass (Vallisneria americana)

Tape grass, also known as eelgrass or wild celery, is a submerged aquatic plant found in Florida’s freshwater springs, rivers, and estuaries. It has long, ribbon-like leaves and serves as an important food source for waterfowl and herbivorous fish.

 

 

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