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Native Plant Trust: Go Botany Discover thousands of New England plants

Aquatic plants: Is your plant in one of these subgroups?

Please go through the subgroups in order.

Water plants with leaves and stems

Milfoils, watershields, bladderworts, and other submerged plants

Key characteristics

These plants are differentiated into stems and leaves. They spend their lives under water or floating near the water's surface. They are larger than duckweeds and watermeal (next subgroup).


This is a diverse group. Leaves may look very thin and feathery or have bladders that help them float or capture prey.

Video about this subgroup

Water plants: leaves, stems

Tiny water plants with no true stem

Duckweeds and other very small floating species

Key characteristics

These plants do not have distinct stems and leaves; instead, they have a thallus that may have roots hanging from the lower surface. They are minute plants that float on or near the surface of ponds and other still or slow-moving water bodies.


Some pieces of floating aquatic plants or algae may resemble these tiny plants, but will have differentiated leaves and stems.

Video about this subgroup

Tiny water plants: no true stem

My plant isn't in these subgroups.

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