Eel-grass, tape-grass – Vallisneria americana
Eel-grass or tape-grass is a large, submersed, perennial plant that is native to Florida. Tape-grass is common in still and fast-flowing waters throughout the state. It is a popular aquarium plant.
Tape-grass grows from underground runners, and often forms tall underwater meadows. The upper leaf parts are sometimes found floating across the water surface. Tape-grass leaves arise in clusters from the roots. They are about an inch wide and can be several feet long, although there can be much variation in width and length. They have definite, raised veins, with some cross veins. The leaves have rounded tips. Tape-grass produces male and female flowers. The small, white female flowers are the more conspicuous of the two. Single female flowers grow on very long stalks. Mature flowers reach the surface of the water. The tape-grass fruit is a banana-like capsule having many tiny seeds.
Tape-grass can be easily confused with another submersed plant, strap-leaf sagittaria (Sagittaria kurziana). The easiest way to distinguish between the two is to look at their leaf tips. Tape-grass has rounded leaf tips. Strap-leaf sagittaria has pointed tips.
Native eel-grass or tape-grass
- is a submersed plant with long, ribbon-like leaves
- leaves have rounded tips
- small, white female flowers reach the surface on long, submersed flower stalks