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Hairlike Pondweed

Potamogeton trichoides

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.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Potamogetonaceae (Pondweed)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
30 centimetres long
Ditches, gardens, ponds, water.

Green, 4 petals
A short flower spike consisting of 3 to 5 flowers. The flower stalk is slender.
A globular fruit capsule, containing the seeds.
Long, linear, grass-like leaves. This species is similar in appearance to Small Pondweed (Potamogeton berchtoldii) and Lesser Pondweed (Potamogeton pusillus) but the leaves of Hairlike Pondweed are much narrower. The leaves rarely exceed 1mm in width.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Potamogeton trichoides, also known as hair-like pondweed, is a perennial aquatic plant that is native to North America. It is commonly found in freshwater ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams. The leaves are small, linear and typically float on the water's surface, they are hair-like in shape, with smooth edges. The stems are thin and anchored to the bottom by rhizomes. The flowers are small and inconspicuous, and arranged in spikes at the top of the stem. They typically bloom in late spring to early summer. It is an important food source for waterfowl and aquatic animals, and it also provides cover and habitat for fish and other aquatic organisms. It's considered a good oxygenator for the aquatic ecosystem and it's also used as an ornamental plant in water gardens and ponds.


Potamogeton trichoides, commonly known as hairlike pondweed, is a species of aquatic plant that belongs to the family Potamogetonaceae. It is a perennial plant that grows in freshwater habitats such as ponds, lakes, and slow-moving rivers. Hairlike pondweed is a popular choice among aquarium enthusiasts, but it also plays a vital role in maintaining the health of aquatic ecosystems.

Appearance and Distribution

Hairlike pondweed has thin, hair-like leaves that can grow up to 30cm long. These leaves are usually green in color and can be either floating or submerged depending on the water depth. The plant also produces tiny, white flowers that bloom above the water surface during the summer months.

Hairlike pondweed is native to Europe, Asia, and North America. In North America, it is found in the United States and Canada, where it can be found in the Great Lakes, Mississippi River, and many other freshwater bodies.

Ecological Importance

Hairlike pondweed is an essential component of aquatic ecosystems, providing habitat and food for a variety of aquatic species. Its leaves provide a place for fish and other aquatic organisms to hide, and its seeds are eaten by ducks and other waterfowl. Additionally, hairlike pondweed helps to reduce the effects of nutrient pollution by absorbing excess nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus from the water, improving water quality.

Hairlike pondweed also plays a crucial role in stabilizing sediment and reducing erosion in aquatic habitats. Its long roots anchor the plant in the sediment, which helps to prevent sediment from being washed away during floods or heavy rain events. This is particularly important in rivers and streams, where erosion can cause significant damage to ecosystems and infrastructure.

Uses and Benefits

Aside from its ecological importance, hairlike pondweed is also a popular choice among aquarium enthusiasts. Its hair-like leaves and delicate appearance make it a beautiful addition to any aquarium. It is relatively easy to care for and can help to improve water quality by absorbing excess nutrients.

In traditional medicine, hairlike pondweed has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including inflammation, fever, and respiratory infections. It is also believed to have antibacterial and antifungal properties.


Overall, hairlike pondweed is a fascinating and important aquatic plant that plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of freshwater ecosystems. Its ability to absorb excess nutrients, stabilize sediment, and provide habitat for a variety of aquatic species makes it an invaluable resource for both humans and wildlife. Whether you are an aquarium enthusiast or a nature lover, hairlike pondweed is a plant worth learning more about.

More Information about Hairlike Pondweed

Hairlike pondweed, also known as Potamogeton trichoides, is a highly adaptable plant that can grow in a wide range of water conditions, including alkaline, acidic, and brackish waters. It can also tolerate a variety of water temperatures, making it a resilient species that can thrive in different aquatic habitats.

One of the unique features of hairlike pondweed is its ability to reproduce through vegetative propagation. This means that it can spread and colonize new areas quickly without the need for seeds. As the plant grows, it can break off fragments of its stem, which can then take root and grow into new plants.

While hairlike pondweed is generally considered a beneficial species, it can also become invasive in certain water bodies. If the plant is introduced to a new ecosystem where it has no natural predators or competitors, it can quickly take over and outcompete native aquatic plants. This can have negative impacts on the biodiversity and overall health of the ecosystem.

To prevent the spread of hairlike pondweed and other invasive aquatic species, it is important to practice responsible aquatic plant management. This includes being cautious when introducing new plants to water bodies and following local regulations for controlling invasive species.

Another interesting aspect of hairlike pondweed is its role in phytoremediation. Phytoremediation is the process of using plants to remove pollutants from soil or water. Hairlike pondweed is known to be effective at removing excess nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, from the water, which can help to improve water quality in areas impacted by eutrophication. Eutrophication occurs when excessive amounts of nutrients enter a body of water, leading to an overgrowth of algae and other aquatic plants. This can cause oxygen depletion and other negative impacts on the ecosystem.

In addition to its ecological and practical benefits, hairlike pondweed has cultural significance in some indigenous communities. For example, the Inuit of Arctic Canada traditionally used hairlike pondweed as a source of food, medicine, and material for weaving baskets and mats.

In conclusion, hairlike pondweed is a versatile and important aquatic plant with many benefits for both humans and the environment. While it is important to manage this plant responsibly to prevent invasive spread, its ability to provide habitat, improve water quality, and serve as a source of food and cultural significance make it a valuable species worth preserving and studying.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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