Ponds are ecosystems created by man or nature and are a wonderful place to observe wildlife. Fish and other water life are often part of the pond experience. In order for the fish to thrive, there needs to be dissolved oxygen in the water. One of the best ways to provide oxygen in the water for wildlife to thrive is to introduce oxygenating plants into the pond.
Underwater Banana Plant
Underwater banana plant (Nymphoides aquatica) has leaves that float on the surface of the water that resemble a lily pad. They have a white daisylike flower produced on a stem that grows from under the pad or leaf. It is called an underwater banana plant because of the roots, or rhizomes, that remain attached to the bottom of the pond. They are black and look like a small bunch of black bananas.
Tape Grass or Eel Grass
Tape grass or eel grass (Vallisneria americana) is also known as wild celery. Single plants look like a bunch grass and grow together in large colonies that can cover the bottom of a pond. The narrow grasslike leaves grow 2 to 3 feet long. A very small flower is produced from each plant and is borne on a very long stem that reaches the surface of the pond.
Coontail (Ceratophyllum demersum) is a plant that floats freely under the surface of the water. It does not produce roots so is not anchored to the bottom of the pond. The leaves are rough and feathery and resemble a raccoon's tail when submerged. Coontail can grow aggressively in warmer climates and become invasive.
Parrot's feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum) has feathery leaves on branches that extend as long as 5 feet. It is native to South America but has naturalized in many parts of the United States. Parrot's feather creates floating mats of plant material that can interfere with the health of some fish populations, so it needs to be occasionally controlled by hand or mechanical removal. Parrot's feather should not be introduced into a pond where it can escape to a larger body of water.
Yellow Floating Heart
Yellow floating heart (Nymphoides peltata) has a broad floating leaf similar to a water lily and produces a yellow flower that blooms in the morning. It is also known as a fringed water lily. Although it is an oxygenating plant, its water lilylike growth can form thick mats on the surface of the water. When that happens, it shades out other plants and interferes with fishing and other water recreation. In a closed environment, such as a pond, it needs to be controlled to prevent excessive growth. Yellow floating heart is another pond plant that should not be allowed to enter other waterways because of its invasive characteristics.