Curlyleaf pondweed is an aquatic invasive plant related to native pondweeds, introduced from areas of Europe, Asia and North Africa. The plant first arrived in Lake Tahoe in the 1990s. Curlyleaf pondweed is exceptionally durable in Lake Tahoe, being able to propagate via turions (small, armoured clones of the plant). This plant is also able to grow in deeper water than other invasive plants. For these reasons, scientists in the region are very concerned that curlyleaf pondweed could spread to many areas of the Lake.
Key characteristics of curlyleaf pondweed include:
- Narrow, curly leaves (see image above) -- leaves are much curlier and narrower than native pondweeds
- Leaves that "alternate" along the stem
If you find a plant that fits this description in Lake Tahoe, it is most likely curlyleaf pondweed.
See below for a detailed description of curlyleaf pondweed from our Eyes on the Lake ID guide. If you sign up for a group training you will receive a full ID guide to help you in the field.
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Top left curlyleaf pondweed photo courtesy of Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board.