American Eelgrass Vallisneria americana Michaux    Synonyms: Vallisneria spiralis, Wild Celery.
Kingdom Plantae   >   Division Tracheophyta   >   Class Magnoliopsida   >   Order Hydrocharitales   >   Family Hydrocharitaceae   >   Genus Vallisneria   

Status:

Vallisneria americana is not a true grass but rather a member of the Hydrocharitaceae, or so-called “tape-grasses.” It is an important underwater plant in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. One of its common names is "eelgrass," which can lead to confusion because another underwater plant in the Bay is also often called "eelgrass." That plant is Zostera marina var. stenophylla, or Seawrack.

Description:

Anchored in sand or mud bottoms, Vallisneria americana completes its reproductive cycle underwater.

Where to find:

In the Chesapeake Bay, Vallisneria americana is most abundant in the upper freshwater reaches. Like other underwater grasses, Vallisneria americana grows in shallow coastal waters, where it receives enough sunlight to photosynthesize.

Relationships:

Vallisneria americana is a valuable natural resource, providing critical habitat for fish and invertebrates. Its reproductive structures and roots sustain migrating and wintering waterfowl, such as Canvasback ducks.

There are 31 records in the project database.

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American Eelgrass in Harford Co., Maryland (8/24/2017). Photo by Josh Emm. (MBP list)

American Eelgrass blooming in the Susquehanna Flats in Harford Co., Maryland (8/30/2016). Photo by Dave Webb. (MBP list)

American Eelgrass in Garrett Co., Maryland (7/16/2015). Photo by Seth Metheny. (MBP list)

American Eelgrass in Prince George's Co., Maryland (6/22/2017). Verified by Dr. John Hall. Photo by Bill Harms. (MBP list)

American Eelgrass in Harford Co., Maryland (8/30/2016). This photo shows the base of a male American Eelgrass plant, including two flowers located on the ends of short stalks. Look carefully at the pale yellowish flower (nearer to the root mass), and you can see individual grains of pollen inside. In time, the flower bract breaks free from the plant, rises to the surface and releases the pollen. Photo by Dave Webb. (MBP list)

American Eelgrass in Prince George's Co., Maryland (5/20/2016). (c) johnbotany, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by John Hall. (MBP list)

American Eelgrass in Cecil Co., Maryland (7/12/2020). (c) johnbotany, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by John Hall. (MBP list)

American Eelgrass in Cecil Co., Maryland (7/31/2021). (c) johnbotany, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by John Hall. (MBP list)

American Eelgrass in Harford Co., Maryland (8/17/2017). Photo by Dave Webb. (MBP list)


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