Widgeon Grass

Ruppia maritima

Image by Gordon Leppig & Andrea J. Pickart on Wikimedia, public domain

Physical: Widgeon Grass has more delicate, narrow branches than those of Eel Grass.  Its leaves are narrow, needle-like, and grow from a slender stem.  These leaves are approximately 2 inches long.  The flowers and small fruit grow in clusters of 2-4.

Habitat: Widgeon Grass is a perennial plant found in the northern areas of Barnegat Bay as well as along the east coast to Texas.  It is usually in shallow areas with brackish waters where it can extend its flowers above the surface of the water.  Widgeon Grass can tolerate various salinities, prefering sandy bottoms, but can grow in muddy/silty bottoms.

Feeding: Widgeon Grass is a favorite food source of ducks and many species of shore birds.  The presence of Widgeon Grass is an indicator of other species that can be found in the area.

Breeding: Widgeon Grasses use both an asexual and sexual reproduction.  They grow flowers which are fertilized by an adjacent plant. Then, release seeds which are be dispersed by wind and water into new areas.  Asexual reproduction is preformed by dispersing new shoots from rhizomes through their root systems.

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