Small Pondweed

Biological Name:

Potamogeton spp. (Small-Pondweed)

Natural Habitat:

Small-Pondweed: This aquatic plant is native to North America and can be found in ponds, lakes, and other freshwater bodies.


Small-Pondweed also known as Potamogeton is a plant that is native to wetland and riparian areas of North America. It is a perennial herb that can grow up to three feet tall and it has small oval-shaped leaves and small inconspicuous flowers that are typically green or yellow in color. The plant is often found growing in shallow water and it is an important food source for aquatic animals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What kind of plant is pondweed?
A: They belong to two families in the order Alismatales: the Potamogetonaceae (pondweed family) and the Aponogetonaceae (Cape pondweed family), both of which have species that develop submerged or floating leaves but frequently have emergent flowering shoots.

Q: How do you get rid of floating pondweed?
A: Floating pondweed can be removed by raking or seining it from the pond, but will re-establish from any remaining roots and seeds. Fertilization to produce a phytoplankton or algal “bloom” to prevent the establishment of most bottom rooted aquatic weeds. This also produces a strong food chain for the pond fish.

Q: What are underwater weeds called?
A: There are many different types of submerged weeds and include pondweeds, hydrilla, and milfoil. Planktonic algae can make the water look cloudy, green, or like paint or oil has been spilled. Filamentous algae starts at the bottom, forming long strands and floats to the top to form mats.

Q: What is the purpose of pondweed?
A: Ecological Importance. Sago pondweed is an extremely important aquatic plant in lakes and ponds because of its nutritional value as a food source for birds, including waterfowl (especially diving ducks and swans), marsh birds, and shorebirds.

Q: What are pond weeds called?
A: The two most common types of floating weeds are duckweed and watermeal. Floating weeds are not truly rooted to the bottom. If the floating weeds have roots attached to the bottom (such as water lilies or watershield), then they are actually emergent weeds.

Q: How do you keep pondweed alive?
A: Pondweed is best kept in a a constantly aerated tank (just use a simple aquarium pump) filled with tap water located near a window or with a bright lamp (>1200lm). Putting pondweed into cold water straight from the tap may cold shock it so take care to allow water to come to room temperature.

Q: How big is a pondweed?
A: The floating leaves are oblong, pointed at the tips, slightly heart-shaped at the base and grow 5 to 10 cm long, and rounded at the base.

Q: What is pond grass called?
A: Sago Pondweed is a very common species of submersed plant that is found in both lakes and ponds. It’s usually found in depths of 1-2 meters and is a bottom-rooting species.

Q: What is duckweed look like?
A: Duckweed is a very small floating plant. It has shoe-sole shaped leaves with a small, hair-like root hanging below. It looks like a four-leaf clover approximately the size of a pencil eraser. Duckweed in ponds is frequently misidentified as algae or watermeal.

Q: Where is pondweed found?
A: Aquatic vascular plants are not usually present in the benthos of the rivers, but many species of pondweed, hornwort, watermilfoil, waterweed, cattail, pondlily, and duckweed and a wide variety of rushes and sedges grow in the floodplain wetlands and shallow lakes.

Q: Should I remove pondweed?
A: A small amount of algae or pondweed is beneficial to ponds, providing food for tadpoles and other water creatures, but too much can block light from submerged plants and prevent them from photosynthesising, reducing oxygen levels in your pond.

Q: Who eats pondweed?
A: American pondweed is often a food source for fish, waterfowl and turtles.

Q: Is pondweed an invasive plant?
A: Curly-leaved Pondweed is a hardy, aggressive non-native invasive plant. The oblong light to dark green leaves are distinctly serrated, wavy, and typically 3” long.

Q: Is duckweed a pondweed?
A: Duckweed is a common pond weed, visible as masses of tiny, rounded green leaves that float on the surface of ponds and other bodies of still, nutrient-rich water, including in water butts.

Q: Does pondweed need light?
A: To do this job, the pond weed needs energy. It gets this from the light which shines on it. Bright light provides more energy than dim light. Red light is more easily used by the pond weed than most other colours.

Q: How do you get rid of pondweed?
A: Manual Removal. Due to their soft stems, submerged weeds are among the easiest to remove by hand pulling, raking, cutting, or skimming. … Pond Dyes. … Submerged Weed Herbicides.

About the author

Samuel is a gardening professional and enthusiast who has spent over 20 years advising homeowners and farm owners on weed identification, prevention and removal. He has an undergraduate degree in plant and soil science from Michigan State University.