Curly-leafed pondweed is a perennial plant that is native to Europe and gets it name from the rippled or wavy nature of its submerged leaves. The leaves are alternate, oblong 3/4 to 4 inches long and 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide. Mature leaves are toothed with a distinct midrib with paired parallel lateral veins, nearly translucent. Stems are flattened and branching. Fruits are seldom found, they reproduce from small “burr-like” vegetative structures that from a the base of some leaves. Curly-leafed pondweed can be an aggressive invader that can cover large portions of ponds.
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”) for many aquatic invertebrates. Since fruits are not usually present on curly-leafed pondweed, it has little food value to wildlife. It is a non-native plant and should not be spread.