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Floating Weeds

Floating weeds are not attached to the bottom. Floating plants come in sizes from very small, such as duckweed, to over a foot in diameter, like water hyacinth. Most have roots that hang in the water from the floating green portions.

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Lemna minor

Duckweed is a very small floating plant. It has shoe-sole shaped leaves with a small hair-like root hanging on its underside. It resembles a four-leaf clover and is approximately the size of a pencil eraser. It is frequently misidentified as algae. Once established, it can cover the entire water surface and resemble a golf course green. It can cut off sunlight to submersed plants and cut off oxygen to fish and other wildlife.

Also known as: Duck's meat; Duck meal


Salvinia minima

Salvinia is a floating, rootless aquatic fern. It consists of horizontal stems that float just below the water surface that produce a pair of floating or emergent leaves. Floating and emergent leaves are green. Plants bear a third leaf that is brown, highly divided and dangles underwater. Submersed leaves are commonly mistaken as roots. They may grow to great lengths, and by creating drag, act to stabilize the plant. Salvinia is a very aggressive plant that can rapidly cover the surface of a water body.

Also known as: - No listed alias -

Water Hyacinth

Eichornia crassipes

Water hyacinths vary in size from a few inches to over three feet tall. The water hyacinth has striking light blue to violet flowers located on a terminal spike. Water hyacinth is a very aggressive invader and can form thick mats. If these mats cover the entire surface of the pond they can cause oxygen depletion and fish kills. Water hyacinth leaves are rounded and leathery, attached to spongy and sometimes inflated stalks. The plant has dark feathery roots.

Also known as: Common water hyacinth; floating water hyacinth

Water Lettuce

Pistia stratiotes

Water lettuce is a free-floating plant with many spongy, dusty green simple leaves. The leaves are covered in very fine hairs and arranged in a spiral pattern from the center of the plant. The leaves are 1 to 6 inches wide and have large veins running their length. The flowers are seldom seen. Water lettuce is a very aggressive invader and can form thick floating mats. If these mats cover the entire surface of the pond they can cause oxygen depletion and fish kills. Water lettuce should be controlled so they do not cover the entire pond.

Also known as: Lettuce


Wolffia spp.

Watermeal is recognized as the most difficult aquatic plant to control. It is the smallest of flowering plants; it can be dark to light green in color and resembles tiny grains of sand or cornmeal. It looks like very small dots covering the pond. Reproduction occurs by splitting, so complete coverage of a pond’s surface is rapid.

Also known as: meal weed; meal scum