The Frog Blog – Aquatic Weed Wednesday

Flat-stemmed pondweed (Potamogeton zosteriformis)
(Photo credit: University of Wisconsin – Green Bay)

Hello everyone and happy Wednesday! To continue with our Wednesday showcase of aquatic plants that can be found in Ohio, we are going to look into flat-stemmed pondweed (Potamogeton zosteriformis).

Flat-stemmed pondweed is a native, submersed aquatic plant that can be found in various ponds/lakes as well as some slow-moving waters throughout much of Ohio. Pondweeds (Potamogeton spp.)

as a group are typically easily identified by a noticeable midvein on their leaves. They are also a very diverse group with many species that can hybridize with one another, making identification extremely difficult without an expert. Fortunately, flat-stemmed pondweed has a defining feature in its flat, almost linguine-esc stems that grows in a zig-zag pattern underwater. This characteristic can help distinguish it from other pondweed species.

Although perhaps more uncommon than some other aquatic plants in Ohio, flat-stemmed pondweed can occasionally grow to nuisance levels. Typically, however they are an important part of aquatic communities; providing habitat for fish and a source of food to many herbivores (plant-eating organisms). Many native plants (including flat-stem

med pondweed) also provide a number of “ecosystem services” for humans which include slowing down wave action to prevent shoreline erosion, holding onto sediments to further prevent erosion, and absorbing nutrients (“fertilizer”) that can assist in causing harmful algal blooms.


By: Edward Kwietniewski

Aquatic Biologist

AQUA DOC Lake and Pond Management

Edward Kwietniewski graduated from The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) with a Bachelor’s degree in Aquatics and Fisheries Science. He also has a Master’s degree in Lake Management from the State University of New York College at Oneonta (SUNY Oneonta). He has a love for all things aquatic and is an avid fisherman.

Resources and External Links

Borman, Susan. Through the Looking Glass: A Field Guide to Aquatic Plants. Stevens Point, Wis. :Wisconsin Lakes Partnership, 1997. Print.

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