Florida has three different types of marine plants that are native in freshwaters. They are submersed, emersed, and free-floating and floating-leaved. Below are their definitions.
A submersed native grass found in many Florida lakes, tape grass typically grows in clearer bodies of water. The Conway Chain in Orlando, Lake Alice in Odessa, and many of Florida’s clear-water rivers and natural springs contain a lot of tape grass. Tape grass in Florida lakes can often hold a lot of bass and bream as well as shad and other baitfish. Tape grass can also grow quite long and can sometimes pose a swimming hazard (though typically not very serious) for swimmers who get spooked when it feels like their legs are getting tangled in the long blades.
Sago Pondweed (Potamogeton pectinatus)
Sago pondweed is one of Florida’s lakes’ submersed native grasses. I seem to run across this more often in shallower areas (less than 6’ deep) in Florida rivers and lakes that allow it to grow up to the surface of the water. This stuff can make fishing difficult unless using a weedless lure or flipping stick is used.
Florida Bladderwort (Utricularia floridana)
The Florida yellow bladderwort is a large affixed submersed carnivorous plant. Don’t let the “carnivorous” designation scare you. The bladderwort gets its name from bladder-like traps that capture organisms like water fleas, nematodes, tadpoles, and…mosquito larvae. (Thanks for that last one, bladderwort!) The bladder traps are recognized as one of the most sophisticated structures in the plant kingdom.
Coontail gets its name from feather-like leaves that form whorls on the stem resembling a raccoon’s tail. It is a free-floating submersed plant typically found in Central Florida’s ponds, lake, and streams.