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Restore Your Shore

Plant Guide: Native Plant Communities


Aquatic Zone: Submerged aquatic plant community

submerged aquatic plants

Healthy lakes with reasonably clear water and depths between 2 and 15 feet will normally have a community of submerged aquatic plants. Plants of this type are usually rooted in the bottom and grow upward on long narrow stems. They may not reach the surface of the water, or sometimes the flowers are held just above the surface so they can be pollinated by insects.

Common submerged aquatic plants include sago pondweed (Stuckenia pectinata), coontail (Ceratophyllum demersum), and Canada waterweed (Elodea canadensis). This community type will often occur in the same lakes with floating-leaved plant communities, but usually in deeper water.

Boaters and swimmers may consider submerged aquatic plants a nuisance, but they provide essential habitat for fish and wildlife. At some point, every species of fish relies on submerged aquatic plant communities for survival. The same is true of waterfowl that either eat the plants directly, or eat the small fish and crustaceans that live among the plants.


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