Bushy Pondweeds and Naiads (Najas spp.)

Bushy pondweed illustration

Common names: Bushy naiad,(pronounced NAY-ads) water naiad, brittle naiad, slender naiad, spiny leaf naiad.

Location: Clear water at depths of up to 20 feet.

Description: Grow entirely below water surface; have long, waving stems in deep water and are dense and bushy in shallow water. These are annual plants which must start from seed each year.

Hints to identify: Leaves are tapered to a fine point with tiny "spines"; seeds are shiny and smooth. Bushy pondweed is sometimes confused with chara, but chara has a musky odor when crushed and bushy pondweed does not.

Importance of plants: Entire plants are eaten by waterfowl, especially mallards; provide cover for young largemouth bass, northern pike, small bluegills and perch.

Management strategy: See DNR regulations. Bushy pondweed has become more common in recent years; it can grow abundantly in some areas and cause problems. In most areas, it will not be a nuisance and is best left alone--removal may allow less-desirable plants to move in. When control is necessary, aquatic herbicides can be effective.

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