Muskgrass – Chara species
Because of its size and complex structure, muskgrass may look like a higher plant, one that would produce flowers and seeds. However, muskgrass actually is a genus of alga, more properly, a multi-cellular macro-alga.
There are several species of muskgrass in Florida. They grow attached to the bottoms of ponds, lakes, slow-moving rivers and ditches. They sometimes form underwater meadows. Muskgrass prefers hard, calcium-rich waters.
Muskgrass is named for its strong garlic-y odor. Once identified by smell, muskgrass will be remembered forever. This macro-alga has no true leaves, but it does have branches and branchlets. Branchlets occur in whorls at regular intervals along the main branches. No part of muskgrass is more than 3 cells thick. The branches and branchlets are made of single column-shaped cells that often are surrounded by spine-shaped cells. These spiny cells and the lime deposits that collect on them make the plant relatively rough to the touch. Muskgrass branchlets also are the sites for the alga’s reproductive sporangia. These dark, ball-like organs appear seed-like along the branchlets.
- Muskgrass is a macro-alga.
- This submersed plant has a distinctive garlic odor.
- There are no leaves.
- Tiny spines and calcium deposits make muskgrass rough to the touch.
For brief control information, see Efficacy of Herbicide Active Ingredients Against Aquatic Weeds by K. Langeland, M. Netherland, and W. Haller.