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Facts About Elodea Plants

Elodea plants can be found in a variety of places in nature, but they are also commonly used in classroom science experiments to show how well they co-exist with other aquatic life.

“Elodea” became a genus of aquatic plants in 1803.

Facts About Elodea Plants

Elodea can be seen here in an aquarium, for a science class experiment.

Elodea plants are native to North and South America.

Elodea plants are sometimes referred to as “waterweeds,” or “pond weeds.”

The stems of elodea plants can grow up to 2 feet long.

In an ecosystem, Elodea is a “producer.” It makes its own food from sunlight and carbon dioxide in the process known as “photosynthesis.”

Elodea plants growing at the surface of the water may send down long, pale roots.

Elodea plants are easy to grow in aquariums because they are hardy, adaptive plants and can survive under a variety of poor conditions including low light, and a variety of deep and shallow bodies of water.

Elodea plants usually have a dark green color with pointed leaves that grow around the stem in whorls (circles) of three or more.

Elodea plants can be found in ponds and slow-moving streams.

Although elodea plants prefer strong light, they can survive for a long time in low light.

Elodea plants can cause problems in nature, because they can crowd out other plants and clog waterways. This is due to their fast, competitive growth on the top and bottom of the water.

Elodea is a freshwater plant.

Elodea plants can grow in two ways — either by floating at the surface of the water, or taking root at the bottom of the body of water.

Elodea plants can produce little white flowers that protrude above the surface. Other than that, the rest of the elodea plant lives underwater.

If you chop up an elodea plant, each smaller segment will continue growing into a new elodea plant.

Elodea plants will produce seeds, however their main method of reproduction is by shedding stalks that float away and root elsewhere to become new plants.

Elodea is illegal to sell even as aquarium plants in Washington, New Hampshire,  South Carolina, and Alabama because it is considered an invasive species.


Sources:

Jernelöv, Arne. The Long-Term Fate of Invasive Species: Aliens Forever or Integrated Immigrants with Time? New York: Springer, 2017

Luteyn, J. L. 1999. Páramos, a checklist of plant diversity, geographical distribution, and botanical literature. Memoirs of The New York Botanical Garden 84: viii–xv, 1–278

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