Potamogetonaceae is the family known as the pondweeds (and less of a mouthful!). The word originates from the Greek for river (potamos) and neighbour (geiton). This family is diverse with around 90 species in the UK alone. The potamogetons are one of the easiest plant families to identify as they are are all aquatic, either floating or submerged herbaceous plants.
Potamogeton crispus, is the only member of the Potamogetonaceae family currently found on Whiteknights campus and grows in abundance in the small pond by the URS building. It is distinguishable from other potamogetons by its undulate leaf margins, hence the vernacular name ‘Curled Pondweed’. The leaves are linear and oblong without a stalk, the edges of the leaves are toothed (like a saw).
The flowers are wind pollinated and stick out of the water on spikes and the fruits have a large beak. The pond weeds also have a distinctive stipule which is often more easily seen towards the base of the stem. Potamogeton crispus flowers between May and October and can be found throughout the British Isles in still and flowing fresh water.
All photographs taken and edited by the author, Emma James.