Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
FROG'S-BIT FAMILY (Hydrocharitaceae)
IND. STATUS: OBL
FIELD CHARACTERISTICS: A submerged, perennial herb with leaves whorled in 3's (rarely some opposite) on a slender, branching stem. Leaves are generally 1.5-4(5) mm. wide (averaging about 2 mm.), entire, and 2-5 times as long as wide. The plants are unisexual. Pistillate flowers reach the surface by a long, thread-like stalk. The staminate flowers are in an elongated spathe attached by a long thread-like stalk. In flower from July to September.
ECOLOGICAL NOTES: Elodea is found in marshes, lakes, rivers and Mississippi River backwaters. It has been recorded in water deeper than 25 feet. This species often forms large masses. A synonym is Anacharis canadensis (Michaux) Rich.
The staminate flowers split open, spreading pollen onto the water's surface where it drifts and may, by chance, reach a pistillate flower. Pollination occurs at the water's surface. However, most reproduction is vegetative by fragmentation of the stem.
SOURCE: Fernald (1970); and Voss (1972).