Widgeon Grass

Ruppia maritima

Description


Widgeon grass is a completely submerged perennial plant with single or multi-branched stems up to 3 feet long. Leaves are alternate, simple, and thread-like (less than 1/32 of an inch wide) up to 4 inches long with sheaths. Flowers and fruits in clusters at the end of individual stalks. Fruits are small (< 1/32 inches), dark-green and pear-shaped. Widgeon grass can live in fresh or brackish water to 10 ppt (parts per thousand) salinity or higher.

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. Widgeon grass is a very important wildlife plant with the stems and leaves being heavily utilized by many duck species.