American pondweed is a perennial plant that has both floating and a few submerged leaves in an alternate pattern. The floating leaves are elliptical to oval 4 to 7 inches long and to 2 1 inches wide on long petioles. Submerged leaves are not abundant and are blade-like, somewhat transparent and smaller than floating leaves. Fruits are on spikes that often stand above the water’s surface and are brownish to reddish 3 to 2 1 inches long and 1/8 to1/4 inches wide.
Submerged portions of all aquatic plants provide habitats for many micro and macro invertebrates. These invertebrates in turn are used as food by fish and other wildlife species (e.g. amphibians, reptiles, ducks, etc.). After aquatic plants die, their decomposition by bacteria and fungi provides food (called “detritus”) or many aquatic invertebrates. American pondweed is highly utilized as food by ducks and some other types of wildlife.