Open the Advanced Search

Beaked Tasselweed

Ruppia maritima

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Ruppiaceae (Ditch Grass)
Also in this family:
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
20 centimetres long
Ditches, saltmarshes, seaside, water.

Green, no petals
The flowers are in short-stalked pairs at the bases of the leaves.
The fruit is pear-shaped drupelet.
An aquatic annual or perennial plant with bright green grass-like leaves.
Other Names:
Ditch-grass, Tassel Pondweed, Widgeon Grass.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Ruppia maritima, also known as ditchgrass or widgeon grass, is a species of aquatic plant that belongs to the Ruppiaceae family. It is native to coastal saltwater and brackish water habitats in North America, Europe, and Asia. It is a submerged aquatic perennial plant, the leaves are green, long, thin, and thread-like and can reach up to 30cm in length. It produces small, inconspicuous flowers that are pollinated by wind. Ruppia maritima is commonly found in salt marshes, estuaries, and coastal lagoons. It is an important species for the coastal environment, it provides habitat for fish and invertebrates, and it helps to stabilize shorelines by reducing wave energy. It is also considered as a valuable food source for aquatic animals and some species of waterfowl. Due to its salt tolerance, it can be used as a tool for the phytoremediation of salt-polluted soils and waters.


Beaked Tasselweed: A Unique and Valuable Aquatic Plant

Ruppia maritima, commonly known as Beaked Tasselweed, is a species of aquatic plant that belongs to the Ruppiaceae family. It is a freshwater perennial plant that is widely distributed in shallow waters of ponds, lakes, and coastal lagoons across the world. The plant is known for its unique appearance and ecological importance, making it a valuable species for both ecological and economic reasons.


Beaked Tasselweed is a green, slender plant that grows up to 20 cm in height. The leaves of the plant are narrow and elongated, with a beaked tip that gives the plant its common name. The flowers of the plant are tiny and inconspicuous, but they grow in clusters along the stem of the plant. The flowers are followed by small, dark brown fruits that are wind-dispersed.

Ecological Importance

Beaked Tasselweed plays a crucial role in the aquatic ecosystem, serving as a vital food source for many waterfowl species and other aquatic animals. The plant is a primary producer in the food chain, converting energy from the sun into food through photosynthesis. This, in turn, provides energy for other organisms in the ecosystem, including zooplankton, crustaceans, and small fish.

Beaked Tasselweed also provides habitat for a variety of aquatic species, including fish and invertebrates. The plant's long, slender leaves provide shelter and a place to lay eggs for many species, and its roots serve as a substrate for the growth of other aquatic plants and animals.

Economic Value

In addition to its ecological importance, Beaked Tasselweed also has economic value. The plant is a source of food for waterfowl, including ducks and geese, which are hunted for sport and food. In some areas, the plant is also used as a feed ingredient for aquaculture and livestock.

Additionally, Beaked Tasselweed is sometimes used as an ornamental plant in aquariums and aquatic gardens. Its unique appearance and easy-to-grow nature make it a popular choice for aquarium hobbyists.

In conclusion, Beaked Tasselweed is a unique and valuable species that plays an important role in the aquatic ecosystem and has economic significance. It is an important food source for many waterfowl species and other aquatic animals, provides habitat for a variety of species, and has ornamental value in aquariums and aquatic gardens. If you are interested in exploring the fascinating world of aquatic plants, be sure to consider adding Beaked Tasselweed to your collection.

Cultivation and Propagation of Beaked Tasselweed

Beaked Tasselweed is a hardy plant that can grow in a variety of aquatic environments, making it relatively easy to cultivate. It can be grown in shallow water or in containers, as long as the water temperature remains between 10-30°C. The plant prefers nutrient-rich water and can tolerate a wide range of water hardness and pH levels.

To propagate Beaked Tasselweed, simply plant the seeds or cuttings in a container filled with a suitable substrate, such as sand or mud, and place it in shallow water. The plant will quickly establish roots and begin to grow, providing you with a beautiful and functional addition to your aquatic garden.

It is important to note that Beaked Tasselweed can become invasive in some areas, especially if it is grown in areas with high water flow or water currents. To prevent the spread of the plant, it is recommended to grow it in a contained environment, such as a pond or aquarium.

Conservation and Threats

Beaked Tasselweed is considered a species of least concern by the IUCN Red List, but it is still vulnerable to certain threats. The main threat to the species is the loss of its natural habitat, due to the draining of wetlands, the construction of dams, and other forms of human activities. Climate change and increased water pollution also pose a threat to the species.

To ensure the survival of Beaked Tasselweed, it is important to protect and conserve its natural habitats, including wetlands, lakes, and coastal lagoons. This can be achieved by restoring degraded habitats, reducing water pollution, and managing water levels to maintain suitable growing conditions for the plant.

In addition, cultivation and propagation of the species in aquariums and aquatic gardens can help to increase its population and ensure its survival. By growing and conserving this unique and valuable plant, we can ensure its continued presence in our aquatic ecosystems for generations to come.

In conclusion, Beaked Tasselweed is a fascinating and valuable species that deserves our attention and protection. By learning about its ecology, cultivation, and conservation, we can help to ensure its survival and continued presence in our aquatic ecosystems.

The Use of Beaked Tasselweed in Traditional Medicine

In addition to its ecological and economic value, Beaked Tasselweed has also been used in traditional medicine for centuries. The plant is believed to have a number of medicinal properties, and has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive problems, skin conditions, and respiratory disorders.

In traditional Chinese medicine, for example, Beaked Tasselweed is considered to have a cooling effect on the body, and is used to treat fevers, headaches, and other symptoms of heat-related illnesses. The plant is also believed to have a calming effect on the mind and is used to treat anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders.

In Europe, the plant has been used as a traditional remedy for digestive problems, such as indigestion, bloating, and constipation. The leaves of the plant are often brewed into a tea, which is believed to have a soothing effect on the digestive system.

It is important to note that while Beaked Tasselweed has been used in traditional medicine for centuries, its medicinal properties have not been thoroughly studied and its use as a treatment should be done under the supervision of a healthcare professional.


In conclusion, Beaked Tasselweed is a unique and versatile species with a wealth of ecological, economic, and medicinal benefits. From its use as a food source for waterfowl to its role in traditional medicine, this plant has much to offer and deserves our attention and protection. Whether you are an aquatic gardener, a birdwatcher, or simply interested in traditional medicine, Beaked Tasselweed is a fascinating and valuable species that is well worth exploring.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map