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Name derivation:



Vallisneria Linnaeus  1753;  common name ‘eelgrass’ or ‘tape grass’.

Order Hydrocharitales;  Family Hydrocharitaceae (‘Tape-grass family’)


Underwater foliage and flowers.  Ribbon-like leaves. 

Mature female flowers float to surface but remain attached to parent plant with thin elongated petiole.  Male flowers detach, float to surface, and mature exposing anthers and pollen.  Pollination occurs when male flowers ‘slide’ down the surface slope to female flowers and make contact.  This is ‘hydrophyllous’ pollination on the surface tension of the lakewater, but it is not under the water surface (not submerged).

Similar genera:



Widespread around the globe. Freshwater lakes and streams.   At least one species (V. spiralis) is considered native to Asia, Southern Europe andNorth Africa.  Distributed throughout North America except the prairie states and provinces of USA and Canada.  Present in Iceland.  Also found in near-coastal wetlands of all provinces of Australia.


Linneaus, C.  1753.  Species Plantarum 2:1015.