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Possible aquatic plant in odd location

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#1 smilingfrog

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  • Minnesota

Posted 09 July 2015 - 10:59 AM

I'm sure it's a long shot to get a positive id, butI found these a couple weeks ago while cleaning my roof gutters. Needless to say the gutters were pretty clogged up and had some standing water. The plants were in a relatively clean section that had maybe an inch of water over a thin layer of rotted leaves which the plants were rooted in. We've had a reasonably wet spring/summer here so far so I think the water has been there for awhile. They didn't look like grass seedlings to me and the plants did not stick up out of the water, but rather grew to the surface then lay flat along the surface. They sort of reminded me of submerged forms of sagittaria that I have seen, but I really don't know what they are. I have occasionally seen ducks sitting on my roof, and assuming they are even an aquatic plant, I am guessing that duck deposited seeds is how they got there.


#2 swampfish

  • NANFA Member

Posted 09 July 2015 - 12:17 PM

It looks like dwarf sagittaria, Sagittaria subulata, which is a native plant to Eastern North America.

Phil Nixon

#3 gerald

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  • Wake Forest, North Carolina

Posted 09 July 2015 - 02:49 PM

Cool ... Gutter Hydroponics ...  the hottest trend in aquatic gardening.  I dont recall ever seeing ducks on a roof, or Sagittaria in a gutter.  I agree with Phil they look most like Sagittaria, but Cattail, Bur-reed, Vallisneria, sedges, rushes are also possible. 

Gerald Pottern
Hangin' on the Neuse
"Taxonomy is the diaper used to organize the mess of evolution into discrete packages" - M.Sandel

#4 Mrfipp

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  • Runaway Bay, Texas

Posted 09 July 2015 - 05:20 PM

Clearly the answer is to plant them in a tank and get a positive ID at a later date...
There's something fishy about this place...

#5 Kanus

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 06:21 PM

I agree with Phil. I'm not an expert on plants per se, but I cannot think of a way that does NOT look like Sagittaria subulata.

Derek Wheaton

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#6 loopsnj64

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 07:47 PM

If its Sagittaria, and you have available fish tanks, grow them in there, give the excess to pet stores or other hobbyists.

"All good things must come to an end, but bad things think thats rather dull, so they stick around long after their natural end has come"

-From an art book I read

#7 strat guy

strat guy
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  • Orland Park, IL

Posted 09 July 2015 - 08:28 PM

Definitely Sagittaria, but I would grow it out and see what variety it is. I get two kinds of Arrowhead growing in my garden pond, and every year I pick out seedlings that look just like that. So, it could be something bigger, depending on what you have growing native in your area.

120 low tech native planted - Blackstriped Topminnow, Central Stoneroller, Fathead minnow, Golden Shiner, Black chin shiner, Carmine Shiner, Emerald Shiner, Sand Shiner, Spotfin Shiner, Orangethroat darter, Johnny Darter, and Banded Darter.

#8 Betta132

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  • San Gabriel drainage area

Posted 10 July 2015 - 01:54 AM

Lucky find!

Definitely grow more of it, you could probably sell/trade bunches of that. 

#9 smilingfrog

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  • Minnesota

Posted 11 July 2015 - 10:59 PM

Hmm, Maybe an excuse to not clean the gutters. :)
Whatever it was it must have been tasty, I put some into my aquarium with some various dace and it was gone in a few days.

#10 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
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  • Ohio

Posted 12 July 2015 - 01:46 PM

Not that I doubt this ID, but how did you guys come up with it from these tiny little seedlings? I would have guessed that it was nut sedge or something similar because of location and general look mostly. What character made you all instantly see Sagittaria? Neat find in an odd place for sure.

The member formerly known as Skipjack

#11 swampfish

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 09:39 AM

The flattened stem is characteristic of Sagittaria and Vallisneria. Terrestrial grasses tend to be round at the base; those that are flattened or round tend to have leaf veins that stand out and the leaves typically have obvious hairs or setae at this magnification. Vallisneria has fine roots; Sagittaria has coarse roots.


In my case, knowing this comes from two college minors in botany and one in horticulture, 35 years of being a university horticultural extension entomologist (it helps to know the plant to identify the bug), teaching clientele and writing manuals on aquatic weed identification, being an aquarist that likes plants for 50 years, and being a local fish club auctioneer for 20 years where plants are commonly not identified or misidentified by the seller. It certainly doesn't take all that to identify a plant, but little parts of all of them help.


Phil Nixon

#12 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
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  • Ohio

Posted 15 July 2015 - 04:30 PM

Thanks, I certainly see no hairs. It also looks kind of "soft" not stiff like nutsedge. I would have had no idea. Still won't.

The member formerly known as Skipjack

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