Text Size: A  A  A

Curly Pondweed

Potamogeton crispus

In spring and summer, curly pondweed leaves are reddish-brown and become wider and curlier. (Graves Lowell/Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources)
In spring and summer, curly pondweed leaves are reddish-brown and become wider and curlier. (Graves Lowell/Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources)

Curly pondweed is a bay grass with broad, curly leaves along flat, branched stems. It grows in fresh non-tidal to slightly brackish tidal waters throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Appearance:

  • Broad leaves with curly, finely toothed edges
  • Leaves grow to 1-4 inches long
  • Leaves grow alternately or slightly opposite on flat, branched stems
  • In winter, leaves are blue-green and more flattened
  • In spring and summer, leaves are reddish-brown and become wider and curlier
  • Shallow root and rhizome system

Habitat:

  • Grows in fresh non-tidal to slightly brackish tidal waters

Range:

  • Found in the upper Chesapeake Bay and in tributaries such as streams, rivers, lakes and reservoirs throughout the Bay watershed
  • Native to Europe

Reproduction and Life Cycle:

  • Has a three-stage life cycle
  • During spring and summer, flowers bloom and float at the water’s surface
  • Begins to die in mid-summer after producing buds, which lie dormant until autumn
  • In winter, the spring/summer cycle repeats itself when buds sprout into new flowers
  • Can also reproduce asexually when rhizomes or burr-like structures near the tips of the stems develop into new plants

Other Facts:

  • Likely introduced to the United States in the mid-1800s
  • Can become invasive in non-tidal waters because it grows early in the season and can shade out other bay grasses
  • Can be confused with young shoots of redhead grass

Sources and Additional Information:

Places:




Click tabs to swap between type and habitat.

410 Severn Avenue / Suite 112
Annapolis, Maryland 21403
Tel: (800) YOUR-BAY / Fax: (410) 267-5777
Directions to the Bay Program Office
Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
©2012 Chesapeake Bay Program | All Rights Reserved