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Vallisneria americana (American eelgrass)
Pingry, Carl

Vallisneria americana

Vallisneria americana Michx.

American Eelgrass, Water Celery, Eelgrass, Tapegrass

Hydrocharitaceae (Tape-Grass Family)

Synonym(s): Vallisneria asiatica, Vallisneria neotropicalis, Vallisneria spiralis, Vallisneria spiralis var. asiatica

USDA Symbol: VAAM3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Tapegrass leaves are about one inch wide and can be several feet long arising in clusters from their roots. The leaves have rounded tips and raised veins. Single white female flowers grow to the water surface on very long stalks. Tapegrass fruit is a banana-like capsule having many tiny seeds.

Can be cultivated in aquariums - needs 5cm thick of rich soil, covered by sand, full light and water temperature between 18 to 20 degrees celsius. (Fleurbec)


From the Image Gallery

4 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Submersed stems may be up to 6 feet long. Flowers usually float on the surface of the water.
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov


USA: AL , AZ , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , ID , IL , IN , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , ND , NH , NJ , NM , NV , NY , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , VA , VT , WA , WI , WV
Canada: NB , NS , ON , PE , QC
Native Distribution: Appropriate environments through much of the eastern half of North America, concentrated in the northeastern US and southeastern Canada and on the Gulf Coast, with scattered populations intervening and in the western US. South through Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean to northern South America. Also, Asia from the Middle East eastward and south to Australia.
Native Habitat: Lakes and running streams; rare in east Texas and west to the Edwards Plateau.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Aquatic: yes
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: 5 cm of soil below water
Conditions Comments: Water celery's long strap-like leaves grow from stoloniferous clumps submerged under water. In shallow water, leaves may reach and float on the surface. After flowers are fertilized, the flower stalks curl into spirals and pull the flowers under the surface. An important source of food for turtles and other aquatic wildlife. Good for wetland gardens and habitat.


Interesting Foliage: yes
Attracts: Birds
Deer Resistant: High


Propagation Material: Seeds
Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Vallisneria americana in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Vallisneria americana in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Vallisneria americana


Record Modified: 2023-03-01
Research By: LAL, GAP

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