Vallisneria americana, wild celery

Georgian Bay Forever is working with Dr. Kevin McCann of the University of Guelph, and the Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding to catalogue all the aquatic organisms in Georgian Bay. This will help with measuring the impact of environmental stressors like climate change and human activity such as shoreline development as well as aiding in future conservation efforts, ecosystem monitoring, forensics, and tracking invasives. All the specimens collected and identified will also contribute to the International Barcode of Life , a multi-nation effort to catalogue the world's biodiversity. Here is one example from Georgian Bay's Aquatic Species Library.


    Kingdom: Plantae
    Phylum: Magnoliophyta
    Class: Lilopsida
    Order: Alismatales
    Family: Hydrocharitaceae
    Genus: Vallisneria
    Species: Vallisneria americana

Identification - Linnaean Taxonomy

A very useful native plant

vallisneria americana
You may recognize this plant which is popularly used in aquariums as a background decoration and looks nothing like its common name wild celery suggests. It grows underwater and has deep roots with 1 inch wide leaves which can grow in clusters, ribbon-like as much as 2 metres from the plant base, but with much variation. Sometimes leaves can be seen floating on the tops of the water. The leaves have a raised vein or midrib and the tips of the leaves are rounded as opposed to sharp.
It produces male and female flowers, with the white female flowers being more dominant and reaching to the surface on single stalks. These plants reproduce through seeds, but mainly through runners. Belonging to the family of tape grasses, water celery can live in freshwater and some concentrations of saline water. Other common names include tape grass, or eelgrass or flumine-Mississippi.

Eaten by diving ducks such as the canvasback, the leaves are tough for many herbivorous fish to eat. However, beds of this grass are almost like submerged meadows providing shelter for fish and invertebrates and in some cases nurseries for fish species. This species is excellent for strengthening sediment shorelines, assisting small particle food webs, and water filtration.

Thank you for supporting the Georgian Bay Aquatic Species Library

For more information about the DNA barcoding project for Georgian Bay. Please visit here.

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Sources and acknowledgements

Thank you to the sources for information in this post.

Note - We try to bring together information to help understand this species. We do use sources to provide information and visuals. We do our best to attribute properly and try very hard to get it right. If we have made an inadvertent mistake around recognizing someone’s work or misinterpreting the work, please let us know via email at communications and I will correct.