What are aquatic plants?

Pondweed on the water's surface.

Aquatic plants are essential to healthy lakes. They provide shelter and habitat for young fish and insects, and they feed waterfowl and mammals. They hold sediment on the bottom and generate oxygen for all creatures to survive.

The types of aquatic plants in a lake depends on the nutrients in the water, the water’s temperature and clarity, and the water’s depth. Invasive plant species modify the natural plant community. Broadly speaking, aquatic plants can be thought of as emergent, floating-leaved, floating, or submersed.

  • Emergent plants, such as cattail or bulrush, have their roots in mud beneath the water and stalks and leaves that extend above the water’s surface. Many animals, such as waterfowl and muskrats, use emergent plants as habitat and food.

  • Floating-leaved plants, such as pond lilies, water lilies, and watershield, are also rooted underwater but have leaves or flowers that float upon the water’s surface.

  • Floating plants, such as Common Duckweed, float entirely on the surface, with their roots dangling below and taking nutrients directly from the lake’s water.

  • Submersed plants, such as Eurasian water-milfoil or coontail, live entirely below the surface and have soft stems. You may have felt them tickling your toes while out for a dip.

Learn much more in the full Lakes of Victoria, BC guidebook!

Cover of Lakes of Victoria, BC.

In the full guidebook, discover where to:

  • Walk: enjoy lakeside strolls & boardwalks.
  • Hike: discover single-track trails & scenic views.
  • Swim: find the best beaches to soak up the sun.
  • Fish: learn about stocking trends and piers.
  • Paddle: explore shorelines, and hidden bays.
  • Bike: plan your next route and hit the trails.

Along the way you will meet the animals and plants that call these lakes and watersheds home, unearth forgotten place names, and learn stories of days past.

The book is full of useful maps, access information, and local trivia to get you started on your next family day or great adventure.

From locals to visitors, everyone will learn something new about the freshwater lakes that bring Victoria to life.