Whether you're planning to stock a backyard pond with native plants or want to learn to identify plants commonly found in or around your local pond, you'll find a lot of diversity in aquatic plants. Many pond plants feature flowers, and nearly all pond plants provide food and shelter for microorganisms, insects and other animals.
Cattails (Typha spp.) bear fuzzy brown cigar-shaped pods (known as catkins); these are actually composed of small flowers. Typically found at the edges of a pond, cattails also grow in boggy areas or in standing water. They range from 5 to 10 feet in height. Each cattail bears a single cigar-shaped flower pod on a thin, hard tan stalk and features elongated ovoid leaves.
Banana lilies (Nymphoides aquatica) grow on the surface of a pond. This plant gets its name from the banana-shaped rhizomes that grow on the undersides of the leaves. Banana lily leaves average 2 to 6 inches in diameter, feature black edging and bright green foliage and are shaped like a heart. Each lily pad bears a small white flower.
Blue flag (Iris virginica) is a type of iris flower that commonly grows in shallow water near the edges of ponds. The blue flag iris bears the typical indigo hue; other species of pond iris may be white or yellow in color. The blue flag iris has six petals and a floral smell. The plants vary in height from 1 to 3 feet.
Water shields (Brasenia schreberi) float on the surface of the pond. The tops of the leaves are dark green and the bottoms are a rusty red color. They may grow up to 5 inches in length. Both the top and bottom of the leaves are coated with a green algae slime. Water shields develop tiny red flowers. The plants multiply quickly and are often found in acidic waters.