Reservoirs, Lakes and Ponds

Sago Pondweed | Stuckenia pectinata

Stuckenia pectinata (L.) Boerner (formerly Potamogeton pectinatus) : Sago pondweed, thin-leaved pondweed. Potamogetonaceae (pondweed family). Native perennial. An extensive network of slender rhizomes forms dense mats and anchors the plant in the substrate. Rhizomes produce spherical starchy tubers or bulblets, 0.8 in (2 cm) in diameter, at their ends. Whole plant is submersed, growing to 13 ft (4 m) in length, and branching freely near the apex so branches and leaves fan out and can become very dense at the water surface. Single leaf type, no floating leaves. Leaves are coarse and slender, grass-like, 2 - 14 in (5 - 35 cm) long, tapering to a pointed tip, with 1 to 3 veins. Stipules form a sheath up to 2 in (5 cm) long that holds the lower part of the leaf blade against the stem; the upper stipule is free of the stem and leaf. This stipule can be peeled away from the stem to reveal the lower part of the leaf and the node from which the leaf originates. The slender flower stalk, up to 4.75 in (12 cm) long, is visible in the uneven gaps between the whorls of flowers or nutlike fruits on the flowering spike. This plant can create dense stands that clog irrigation canals and produce major problems for water flow and access, but it is very important in natural habitats as a wildfowl food source.