Aquatic plants are generally divided into four groups for management purposes. These groups are:
- Floating Plants
- Submerged Plants
- Emergent Plants
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Algae are very primitive plants. Some algae are microscopic (planktonic algae). Others are thin and stringy or hair-like (filamentous algae). While still others are large and resemble higher plants but without true roots (chara).
True floating plants are not attached to the bottom. Floating plants come in sizes from very small (duckweed) to over a foot in diameter (water hyacinth). Most, but not all, have roots that hang in the water from the floating green portions.
Submerged plants are rooted plants with most of their vegetative mass below the water surface, although some portions may stick above the water. One discerning characteristic of submerged plants is their flaccid or soft stems, which is why they do not usually rise above the water’s surface.
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Emergent plants are rooted plants often along the shoreline that stand above the surface of the water (cattails). The stems of emergent plants are somewhat stiff or firm.