Ruppia maritima is a species of aquatic plant known by the common names widgeongrass, ditch-grass and tassel pondweed. Despite its Latin name, it is not a marine plant; is perhaps best described as a salt-tolerant freshwater species. The generic name Ruppia was dedicated by Linnaeus to the German botanist Heinrich Bernhard Ruppius (1689-1719) and the specific name (maritima) translates to "of the sea".
It can be found throughout the world, most often in coastal areas, where it grows in brackish water bodies, such as marshes. It is a dominant plant in a great many shoreline regions. It does not grow well in turbid water or low-oxygen substrates.
Ruppia maritima is a thread-thin, grasslike annual or perennial herb which grows from a rhizome anchored shallowly in the wet substrate. It produces a long, narrow, straight or loosely coiled inflorescence tipped with two tiny flowers. The plant often self-pollinates, but the flowers also release pollen that reaches other plants as it floats away on bubbles.
The fruits are drupelets. They are dispersed in the water and inside the guts of fish and waterbirds that eat them. The plant also reproduces vegetatively by sprouting from its rhizome to form colonies.
Wetlands and wildlife
- Kantrud, H. A. (1991). Classification and Distribution - Wigeongrass (Ruppia maritima L.): A literature review. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
- Kantrud, H. A. (1991). Habitat - Wigeongrass (Ruppia maritima L.): A literature review. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
- Kantrud, H. A. (1991). Development and Reproduction - Wigeongrass (Ruppia maritima L.): A literature review. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
- Ito Y., T. Ohi-Toma, J. Murata & Nr. Tanaka (2010) Hybridization and polyploidy of an aquatic plant, Ruppia (Ruppiaceae), inferred from plastid and nuclear DNA phylogenies American Journal of Botany 97: 1156-1167
- Ito Y., T. Ohi-Toma, J. Murata & Nr. Tanaka (2013) Comprehensive phylogenetic analyses of the Ruppia maritima complex focusing on taxa from the Mediterranean Journal of Plant Research 126: xxxx-xxxx
- Kantrud, H. A. (1991). Introduction - Wigeongrass (Ruppia maritima L.): A literature review. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ruppia maritima.|
- Ruppia maritima at the IUCN Red List
- Jepson Manual Treatment - Ruppia maritima
- USDA Plants Profile: Ruppia maritima
- Flora of North America
- Ruppia maritima - Photo gallery
- Plant Life In Water - Aquatic Botanist Yu Ito's Home Page
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