Naiad - Najas major
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Najas minor is an annual that is rooted and grows submersed.
The stems are up to 2.5 m long and are profusely branched near their apex.
Leaves are opposite or subopposite, about 1 mm wide and 0.5 to 3.5 cm
long, becoming stiff and recurved with age. The leaves have 7 to 15 small,
but conspicuous teeth along each leaf margin. Sheaths at the base of the
leaf are truncate to auriculate. Flowers are small, inconspicuous, and
borne in the leaf axils on the same plant. The seeds are 1.5 to 3.0 mm
long and slightly curved with rectangular areolae arranged in distinct
Slender naiad can be found in ponds, lakes, reservoirs, and slow moving
streams. It is more tolerant of turbidity and eutrophic conditions than
some of the native species of Najas and has replaced them in many instances
(Wentz and Stuckey 1971). Although slender naiad can reproduce by fragmentation,
the primary means of reproduction appears to be by seed. Data collected
from reservoirs in the Tennessee River system have shown seed banks of
N. minor to be tens of millions of seed per hectare at productive sites.
During the late summer or early fall, the stems of slender naiad become
brittle, and the profusely branched apical portions of the stem break
into small fragments. Seeds remain attached in the leaf axils, and the
fragments are dispersed by wind and water currents. Populations of Najas
within reservoirs can fluctuate dramatically over a period of a few years
and have been correlated with years of low rainfall and increased amounts
of available light (Peltier and Welch 1970).
Najas minor can form dense, monospecific stands in shallow water
and hinder swimming, fishing, boating, and other forms of water contact
recreation. It often grows with other submersed aquatics such as southern
naiad, pondweed, coontail, and watermilfoil.
Links to more information
Website, video, and graphics by Rob Nelson
For more information on this plant or management please contact US Army Corp of Engineers
Slender Naiad Video
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