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These perennials grow in shallow water and are noted for their tall, erect stature. The leaves are flat and up to 5 feet long and 1inch wide. A brown lower head (cattail) is usually present.


Shallow water annuals that have round green stems that may grow to five feet in height. A flower head may be found several inches below the top of the plant.


A perennial plant that develops from a spongy rhizome up to 1.5 inches in diameter. The leaves can be emersed, floating, or submersed and are green. The flowers are typically yellow in color, 1 inch or more wide, globose and solitary, developing on or above the surface of the water.


Another perennial that grows in shallow water. The leaves stand erect above the water and are heart shaped. Pickerelweed produces blue flowers in the summer.

American lotus

Develops from a spongy rhizome and is a perennial herbaceous plant. Lotus leaves are circular, peltate, and 1-3 feet wide. A milky substance is found in all parts of the plant. Young plants or plants developing early in the year have leaves that are flat and float on the water surface. As the leaves develop, the blades raise several feet above the water surface. The flowers are supported several feet above the water surface on a long stalk. The fruits are hard nut like seeds embedded into an obconic receptacle.


Alligatorweed is another South American import that forms dense mats and can rapidly spread in aquatic or wet conditions. Stems can be 3 feet or longer. Leaves are opposite, elliptic, and up to 4 inches long. Small clover like flowers may arise from the leaf stem.


Arrowhead has leaves that can vary in shape, but that typically have long basal lobes. Flowers are found in whorls of 3 sepals and 3 petals and are present throughout summer and fall.


Leaves of this plant are heart-shaped, 1/2 to 1ΒΌ inches long and wide, and margins are entire. The plant has reddish-purple spongy bulbs which aid in floatation.


This shoreline grass frequently grows in dense stands and may reach lengths of 2 1/2 feet. The leaf blades are 6-10 inches in length and 1/2 inch wide near the base tapering to the point.

Sedges and Rushes

These are grass like, clumpy plants. Stems are unbranched with alternate leaves.

Slender Spikerush

Stems can be 3 or 4 angled and topped by a terminal spike. Leaves have sheaths only, as blades are absent.


Smartweed is a robust perennial that can reach lengths of 8 feet. The leaves are alternate, smooth, and entire with blades up to 10 inches long and 3 1/2 inches wide.


This non-native species is similar to maidencane and it can grow in thick stands along the shoreline.

Water Pennywort

Water pennywort can form dense mats along shorelines. Leaves are alternate and have blades that are lobes (3-5) and can be up to 3 inches wide. The upper surface of the blade is bright green with a central reddish-purple spot at the point of pedicle attachment. The underside of the blade is light green.