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Swamp smartweed Polygonum amphibium

Swamp smartweed illustration

Common names: Floating Smartweed, water smartweed

Location: Found in quiet waters of lake and ponds in water depths less than 6 feet.

Description: This "amphibious" plant can grow as an emergent or as a floating-leaf plant. Leaves are elliptical in shape and alternate along the stem; pink flowers occur in a cluster.

Hints to identify: Similar in appearance to broad-leaf pondweeds but can be distinguished by the presence of swollen nodes on the stem and lack of submersed leaves.

Importance of plant: Water smartweed provides seeds for waterfowl, game birds, deer and muskrat; leave provide shelter for fish and habitat for invertebrates.

Management strategy: See DNR regulations. It's best to leave these plants alone. They typically do not form dense stands.