Floating Aquatic Weeds
Floating aquatic weeds may or may not have a root system or stem. They can be found floating on the surface of ponds and lakes and can cause issues with swimming areas and boating. It can also harm the ecosystem of waterways by blocking sunlight that is vital to fish and other foliage.
The white water lily is a perennial plant that often forms dense colonies. The leaves arise on flexible stalks from large thick rhizomes. The leaves are more round than heart-shaped, bright green, 6 to 12 inches in diameter with the slit about 1/3 the length of the leaf. Leaves usually float on the water’s surface. Flowers arise on separate stalks, have brilliant white petals (25 or more per flower) with yellow centers. The flowers may float or stick above the water and each opens in the morning and closes in the afternoon. The flowers are very fragrant. White water lily can spread from seeds or the rhizomes.
Water Hyacinth, also known as Blue Shell or Shellflower, floats freely in ponds and lakes and can grow up to 3 feet out of the water. It has a light blue to violet flower with elliptical leaves and a very large and fibrous root system.
Water Shield is a floating-leaved plant, but the long leaf stalks reach all the way to the bottom where they attach to a long creeping root that is anchored in the mud. The leaves are oval and shield-shaped with small, dull purple flowers that emerge from the water on stalks. Water shield occurs in lakes, ponds and slow streams, and prefers water up to six feet deep.
Water Lettuce has free-floating, green, velvety leaves that range in size from 1 to 6 inches. Roots hang submerged beneath the leaves. It can become a large infestation that affects boating, swimming, fishing, and other activities in ponds and lakes.
Spatterdock features large, heart-shaped leaves that can be 8 to 16 inches long and 10 inches wide. It has yellow flowers that are at or above the surface of the water. It is also known as the Cow Lily. It can be found in ponds, shallow lakes, streams and springs.
Azolla is a type of small, free-floating fern that ranges in color from green to red. It is 1 to ⅜ inches wide and a single root protrudes from each stem. The overlapping leaves can give the surface a quilted look. It is also called Mosquito Fern or Duckweed Fern and can be found growing in ponds along with Duckweed or Watermeal.
Duckweed (genus Lemna) is a small, flowering plant of the family Lemnaceae. It has a flat, single, oval leaf and is usually no more than 1/4 inch long. It floats freely on the surface of still waters, such as ponds, lakes, and sloughs. The flowers of duckweed can attract flies, mites, small spiders, and bees. It grows quickly and can cover the entire surface of small ponds.