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Bay Grasses Identification Key

Simple Leaves

Carefully count the number of leaves in each whorl on the stem in at least 10 places. Be careful not to count at spots where the stem branches off. The three species here can be very difficult to tell apart. If everything doesn’t fit, don’t be too certain about what species you have found.


Hydrilla
Hydrilla verticillata

A photo of Hydrilla whorls 

Most whorls have 5 leaves, but some may have 4. The leaves have teeth that are easily visible. If you collected roots, there may be some swollen root parts(tubers) sort of like little SAV potatoes!

South American Elodea
Elodea densa

A photo of South American Elodea whorls 

Most whorls have 4 leaves, but some may have 5 or 3. Some of the leaves are >3 mm (1/8 inch) wide. The whorls near the tips of this plant tend to be very tightly bunched. The leaves may have teeth, but they are very small and difficult to see.

Elodea, Common Waterweed
Elodea canadensis

Common Waterweed whorl 

Most whorls have 3 leaves, but some may have 4. All of the leaves are less than 3 mm (1/8 inch) wide. The leaves have teeth, but they are very small and difficult to see.


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