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Slender Naiad - Najas major
Family: Najadaceae

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Description

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 longitudinal rows.

Interesting facts

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.

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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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