Nitella

Nitella spp.

Description


Stoneworts are branched multicellular algae that are often confused with submerged flowering plants. However, stoneworts have no flower and will not extend above the water surface. Nitella has no odor and are soft to the touch, unlike Chara. Stoneworts are light to dark green in color with forked, bushy branches 1/16 to 1/8 inches in diameter.

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. Stoneworts have no known direct food value to wildlife.