Aquatic Plants

aquatic plants

Aquatic plants are species that naturally thrive in a wet environment like ponds, lakes, streams and rivers. They are the foundation of a healthy and flourishing lake ecosystem, both within a lake and along its shoreline. They produce life-giving oxygen, filter nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen that could trigger algae blooms, stabilize soft lake bottoms, and reduce shoreline erosion. They can even help prevent the establishment of invasive non-native species like Eurasian water milfoil or purple loosestrife.

These plants can be found in any fresh or salt water habitat and fall into four common categories: algae, floating plants, submerged plants and emergent plants. Each category has a unique set of characteristics but all are adapted to life in water.

Creating an Underwater Paradise: A Guide to Choosing and Caring for Aquatic Plants

Algae, the simplest aquatic plant, has no roots, stems or leaves but it is an important part of the ocean food chain. Floating aquatic plants, such as various types of lilies, are able to grow in large carpets that can completely cover a pond and provide an ideal habitat for fish and other animals. Submerged aquatic plants such as hornwort can grow in shallow waters where they are protected by the rocky substrate they anchor to.

Emergent aquatic plants such as bog moss can grow in both fresh and salt water, but they prefer to be partially or fully submerged. This allows them to capture more sunlight and provide a shelter for small fish and snails from predators. Aquatic plants also offer a natural hiding spot for young fish and can be used to conceal rocks or logs in a pond.

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