Water Fern

 

A free floating, rootless aquatic fern, this small (1/4″) plant grows in thick mats on the waters surface. Seen floating just below the water is the flat, horizontal rhizome (stem) to which pairs of leaves are attached. On each pair there is a third, submersed leaf, often mistaken as a root, that is brown, much divided, and dangling beneath. This third leaf can grow quite long and acts to stabilize the plant. Whitish, bristly hairs covering the upper surface of the leaves create a water repellent shield. An invasive exotic from Central America, salvinia has quickly spread.

Latin Name: Salvinia Minima

Habitat:Swamp, Marsh

Species Alert! Exotic