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Broad-leaved Pondweed

Potamogeton natans

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Potamogetonaceae (Pondweed)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
3 metres long
Bogs, ditches, fens, gardens, mountains, ponds, water, wetland.

Green, 4 petals
Broad-leaved Pondweed is a submerged aquatic plant commonly found in freshwater habitats in the United Kingdom. While it doesn't produce traditional flowers like those seen in terrestrial plants, Broad-leaved Pondweed does have small, inconspicuous flowers that are arranged in spikes or clusters along its stems. These flowers are typically greenish and lack showy petals. The plant primarily reproduces through the formation of underwater seeds, making its reproductive strategy well-adapted to its aquatic environment. The overall appearance of Broad-leaved Pondweed adds a subtle and essential contribution to the biodiversity of freshwater ecosystems in the UK.
Broad-leaved Pondweed produces small, oval to oblong fruits, known as achenes. The fruits are typically dark brown or black and are formed in clusters on the plant. These achenes contain the seeds of the Broad-leaved Pondweed and play a crucial role in its reproduction. They are adapted for underwater dispersal, allowing the plant to propagate and spread within freshwater habitats. The achenes are often released from the plant, and their buoyancy aids in their distribution through water, contributing to the plant's reproductive success in aquatic environments in the United Kingdom.
The broad, oval, opaque and leathery floating leaves are variably green in colour. They have pale veins which run parallel to the midrib from their bases to the leaf tips. The leaves have stipules and leaf bases are rounded. Up to 10cm long. Submerged leaves are linear and have no blade.
Broad-leaved Pondweed is not known for having a distinct fragrance. Aquatic plants, especially those submerged like the Broad-leaved Pondweed, typically do not produce fragrances that are easily detectable by humans. Instead, their role in the ecosystem is primarily focused on providing habitat, oxygenation, and contributing to the overall health of freshwater environments. The appeal of Broad-leaved Pondweed lies more in its visual characteristics and ecological significance rather than any notable fragrance.
Other Names:
Floating Pondweed, Floating-leaf Pondweed, Floating-leaved Pondweed.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Potamogeton natans, also known as floating-leaved 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 long, thin, and typically float on the water's surface, they are lanceolate in shape, with smooth edges and have a distinctive long petiole. The stems are long, 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.


Broad-leaved Pondweed, scientifically known as Potamogeton natans, is a submerged aquatic plant that belongs to the Potamogetonaceae family. This species is found in still and slow-moving waters throughout Europe, Asia, and North America, and is commonly used in freshwater aquariums and ponds due to its attractive appearance and ease of maintenance.


Broad-leaved Pondweed has long, slender stems that can reach up to 3 meters in length, although they are usually much shorter in aquariums. The leaves are ovate, measuring up to 10 cm in length and 5 cm in width, with a smooth texture and bright green coloration. The leaves are arranged alternately along the stem and have a pointed tip. The flowers of Potamogeton natans are small and inconspicuous, and are borne on long, slender spikes that emerge from the water's surface.


Broad-leaved Pondweed is typically found in freshwater habitats such as lakes, ponds, and slow-moving rivers. It can tolerate a wide range of water temperatures and conditions, although it prefers slightly alkaline waters with a pH between 7.0 and 8.0. In the wild, this species can grow in depths of up to 4 meters, although it is usually found in shallower water.


Broad-leaved Pondweed provides numerous benefits to aquatic ecosystems. The plant provides shelter and breeding grounds for a variety of aquatic animals, including fish, amphibians, and invertebrates. It also helps to improve water quality by absorbing excess nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, which can cause harmful algal blooms if left unchecked. Additionally, the plant serves as a food source for herbivorous fish and invertebrates.

In aquariums and ponds, Broad-leaved Pondweed is a popular choice due to its attractive appearance and ease of maintenance. The plant can be propagated easily by stem cuttings, and will grow rapidly in favorable conditions. It is also relatively hardy and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions.

Broad-leaved Pondweed is a valuable aquatic plant that provides numerous benefits to both natural ecosystems and aquariums. Its attractive appearance, ease of maintenance, and ability to improve water quality make it a popular choice for hobbyists and conservationists alike. If you're looking to add a touch of natural beauty to your aquarium or pond, consider adding Potamogeton natans to your collection.

Some Facts about Broad-leaved Pondweed

Here are some additional interesting facts about Broad-leaved Pondweed:

  1. The name Potamogeton is derived from the Greek words "potamos" meaning "river" and "geiton" meaning "neighbor", referring to the plant's habitat near rivers and lakes.

  2. Broad-leaved Pondweed is an important food source for waterfowl such as ducks and geese, who feed on the leaves and stems.

  3. The plant's submerged leaves are an important habitat for a variety of aquatic invertebrates, who use them for shelter and foraging.

  4. Broad-leaved Pondweed is one of several aquatic plants that can produce asexual reproductive structures called "turions", which are capable of surviving harsh winter conditions and producing new plants in the spring.

  5. In traditional medicine, Broad-leaved Pondweed has been used to treat a variety of ailments including respiratory infections and digestive disorders.

  6. Although Broad-leaved Pondweed is generally considered a beneficial plant in aquatic environments, it can sometimes become invasive and outcompete native species if introduced to new areas. It is important to properly dispose of aquarium or pond plants to prevent the spread of invasive species.

  7. In some cultures, Broad-leaved Pondweed is considered a symbol of purity and is used in spiritual and cleansing rituals.

Overall, Broad-leaved Pondweed is a fascinating and valuable plant that plays an important role in aquatic ecosystems and can also enhance the beauty of aquariums and ponds.

Blog Continuation

Broad-leaved Pondweed is an excellent plant to include in an aquarium or pond because it requires minimal maintenance and provides a number of benefits. One of the advantages of this plant is that it can help improve water quality by removing excess nutrients from the water. When there is an excess of nitrogen and phosphorus in the water, it can lead to harmful algal blooms, which can be toxic to fish and other aquatic animals. Broad-leaved Pondweed is able to absorb these excess nutrients, reducing the risk of algal blooms.

Another benefit of Broad-leaved Pondweed is that it provides a natural habitat for fish and other aquatic animals. The plant's long stems provide shelter for small fish, and the leaves and stems can be a food source for herbivorous fish and invertebrates. Additionally, the plant's roots help to stabilize the sediment on the bottom of the pond or aquarium, which can prevent erosion and improve water clarity.

Broad-leaved Pondweed is a hardy plant that can tolerate a wide range of water conditions, including variations in temperature, pH, and water hardness. It can be propagated easily by stem cuttings, and will grow quickly in favorable conditions.


Broad-leaved Pondweed filmed in Coppull, Lancashire on the 7th June 2023 and the 1st October 2023.


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