Wild celery is a bay grass with long, ribbon-like leaves that have a light green stripe running down the center. It grows in fresh and slightly brackish waters throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Wild celery is made up of long, flat, ribbon-like leaves that can grow to nearly 5 feet in length. The leaves have finely toothed edges; blunt, rounded tips; and a light green stripe running down the center. Leaves grow in a cluster from the base of the plant, which is white. In late summer, female plants have tiny, white flowers that grow at the end of a stalk that reaches the water’s surface.
This grass grows in fresh non-tidal and fresh to slightly brackish tidal waters. It prefers coarse soil that is silty or sandy. It is more tolerant of murky, nutrient-rich waters and withstands waves better than other bay grasses.
Found in the upper Chesapeake Bay, wild celery also grows in tidal and non-tidal waterways such as streams, rivers and impoundments throughout the Bay watershed.
Waterfowl rely on wild celery’s buds and roots while migrating and during their winter stay in the Bay region.
Asexual reproduction takes place when buds form at the stem in late summer and grow into new plants in spring. Sexual reproduction occurs in late summer, when male flowers release pollen and fertilize female flowers. This produces a long cylindrical seed pod.