Floating plants are not attached to the bottom. Floating plants come in sizes from very small, such as duckweed, to over a foot in diameter, like water hyacinth. Most have roots that hang in the water from the floating green portions.
Also known as: Duck’s meat; Duck meal
Duckweed is a very small floating plant. It has shoe-sole shaped leaves with a small hair-like root hanging on its underside. It resembles a four-leaf clover and is approximately the size of a pencil eraser. It is frequently misidentified as algae. Once established, it can cover the entire water surface and resemble a golf course green. It can cut off sunlight to submersed plants and cut off oxygen to fish and other wildlife.
Salvinia is a floating, rootless aquatic fern. It consists of horizontal stems that float just below the water surface
that produce a pair of floating or emergent leaves. Floating and emergent leaves are green. Plants bear a third leaf that is brown, highly divided and dangles underwater. Submersed leaves are commonly mistaken as roots. They may grow to great lengths,
and by creating drag, act to stabilize the plant. Salvinia is a very aggressive plant that can rapidly cover the surface of a water body.
Water hyacinths vary in size from a few inches to over three feet tall. The water hyacinth has striking light blue to violet flowers located on a terminal spike. Water hyacinth is a very aggressive invader and can form thick mats. If these mats cover the entire surface of the pond they can cause oxygen depletion and fish kills. Water hyacinth leaves are rounded and leathery,
attached to spongy and sometimes inflated stalks. The plant has dark feathery roots.
Water lettuce is a free-floating plant with many spongy, dusty green simple leaves. The leaves are covered in very fine hairs and arranged in a spiral pattern from the center of the plant. The leaves are 1 to 6 inches wide and have large veins.
Watermeal is recognized as the most difficult aquatic plant to control. It is the smallest of flowering plants; it can be dark to light green in color and resembles tiny grains of sand or cornmeal. It looks like very small dots covering the pond.