Eelgrass

Vallisneria americana

Description


Eelgrass, tapegrass, or wild celery are all common names for Vallisneria. Eelgrass is a rooted submerged plant often found in flowing water. It has long, thin, ribbon-like leaves (1/2 – 3/4 inches wide) that are commonly 3 to 4 feet long. The vein pattern in the leaves of eelgrass is very distinctive and resembles celery. Eelgrass has a vast rhizome system that allows it to form dense colonies and usually excludes other submerged plants.

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. Eelgrass seeds, roots and leaves are consumed by ducks and other waterfowl, while its dense underwater structures provides an excellent Habitat for invertebrates and fish.