This community type is found in lakes, ponds and slow-moving streams throughout Minnesota. The plants that characterize this community type are rooted in the bottom of water of up to 6 or 8 feet deep, but the leaves float on the surface of the water.
These plants include the familiar American white water lily (Nymphaea odorata), yellow pond lily (Nuphar variegatum), and water shield (Brasenia schreberi). There may also be a few submerged plant species with leaves that do not reach the surface, but the floating-leaved plants will generally create too much shade for plants to survive beneath.
A healthy floating-leaved aquatic community dampens the force of waves, thereby buffering the shore from the erosive effects of storms and high winds. It also provides excellent fish and wildlife habitat, and adds an aesthetic dimension that lakeshore owners value highly.