Egeria is native to South America but has become naturalized in much of the Southeastern U.S. Egeria is a rooted perennial plant but can survive and grow as floating fragments. The dark green lance-like leaves are in whorls of 4 to 6 which become more dense near the tip of the stem (near the surface). Leaves are about 1/2 inch wide and from 3/4 to 1 1/4 inches long with finely toothed margins. Flowers are white about 3/8 to 3/4 inches in diameter on short stalks which commonly are emergent.
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. Egeria is utilized by some duck species as food.
Egeria is often confused with the native Elodea or the non-native Hydrilla. Hydrilla has one or more teeth on the underside of the midrib, neither Elodea nor Egeria have these midrib teeth. The teeth make Hydrilla feel rough when drawn through your hand from base to tip. Flowers of Egeria are larger than Hydrilla. Egeria leaves are larger than elodea and in whorls of 4 to 6 and not 3 as with elodea.