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The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.




Potamogeton crispus
Potamogeton crispus
(curly-leaf pondweed)
Plants
Exotic
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Potamogeton crispus L.

Common name: curly-leaf pondweed

Synonyms and Other Names: [Curly, curly-leaved, crispy-leaved, crisped] pondweed

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Potamogeton crispus grows entirely as a submersed aquatic plant with no floating leaves.  Leaves are alternate, 4-10 cm in length and 5-10 mm wide.  Leaves are conspicuously toothed along leaf margins, sessile (attached directly to the stem), narrowly oblong, undulate (wavy like lasagna noodles) with a conspicuous mid-vein.  Leaf tips are obtuse (rounded or blunt), olive-green to reddish-brown, and somewhat translucent. Stems are flattened, channeled, with few branches.  Rhizomes are pale yellow or reddish, rooting at the nodes.  Small flowers (3 mm wide), with greenish-brown or greenish-red sepals form on a terminal spike above the waterline producing 3-4 achenes (fruits) per flower.

The unique seasonal phenology of P. crispus differentiates the species from other submersed aquatic plants found in North American waters.  In the colder regions of its range, turions (the primary reproductive propagule) break dormancy in the fall when water temperatures drop (Nichols and Shaw 1986). P. crispus survives the winter as whole, intact leafy plants (even under thick ice and snow cover) (Stuckey et al. 1978), then grow rapidly in early spring when water temperatures are still quite cool (10-15°C).  In early June plants flower, fruit, and form turions, and then plants senesce by mid-July (Tobiessen and Snow 1983) in most areas of its range.  The winter growth form of P. crispus is morphologically different from its spring or summer growth form, with leaves that are flattened, narrow, and blue-green in color with few stems and thin rhizomes (Tobiessen and Snow 1983).

Size: up to 5 meters in length (Holm et al. 1997)

Native Range: Eurasia, Africa, and Australia (Catling and Dobson 1985)

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Alaska
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Hawaii
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Puerto Rico &
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Guam Saipan
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Potamogeton crispus are found here.

StateYear of earliest observationYear of last observationTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
Alabama194320175Guntersville Lake; Middle Alabama; Middle Tennessee-Elk; Mobile-Tensaw; Pickwick Lake
Arizona195720124Big Chino-Williamson Valley; Havasu Canyon; Upper Little Colorado; Upper Verde
Arkansas198820152Beaver Reservoir; Little Red
California1896201645Antelope-Fremont Valleys; Battle Creek; Big Chico Creek-Sacramento River; Butte Creek; Clear Creek-Sacramento River; Coyote; East Branch North Fork Feather; Gualala-Salmon; Imperial Reservoir; Lake Tahoe; Los Angeles; Lower American; Lower Klamath; Lower Pit; Lower Sacramento; Middle Kern-Upper Tehachapi-Grapevine; Middle San Joaquin-Lower Chowchilla; Mojave; Newport Bay; North Fork Feather; Owens Lake; Paynes Creek-Sacramento River; Russian; Sacramento; Sacramento Headwaters; Sacramento-Stone Corral; Salton Sea; San Diego; San Francisco Bay; San Gabriel; San Jacinto; San Joaquin Delta; San Pedro Channel Islands; Santa Ana; Santa Barbara Coastal; South Fork Eel; South Fork Kern; Southern Mojave; Suisun Bay; Thomes Creek-Sacramento River; Upper Klamath; Upper Mokelumne; Upper Putah; Upper Stanislaus; Upper Tuolumne
Colorado195220093Middle South Platte-Cherry Creek; Upper Green-Flaming Gorge Reservoir; Upper South Platte
Connecticut194320147Farmington; Housatonic; Lower Connecticut; Lower Hudson; Quinnipiac; Saugatuck; Shetucket
Delaware186019901Brandywine-Christina
Florida193720023Chipola; Lake Okeechobee; Upper St. Johns
Georgia194719803Lower Flint; Spring; Upper Oconee
Idaho1973201010Bear Lake; C.J. Strike Reservoir; Lower Bear-Malad; Lower Clark Fork; Middle Snake; Payette; Pend Oreille Lake; Priest; St. Joe; Willow
Illinois1911201329Big Muddy; Cache; Chicago; Des Plaines; Embarras; Kankakee; Kaskaskia; Kishwaukee; Little Calumet-Galien; Lower Fox; Lower Illinois; Lower Illinois; Lower Illinois-Lake Chautauqua; Lower Ohio; Lower Ohio-Bay; Lower Rock; Macoupin; Rock; Saline; Sugar; Sugar; Upper Fox; Upper Illinois; Upper Kaskaskia; Upper Mississippi; Upper Mississippi Region; Upper Mississippi-Meramec; Upper Mississippi-Skunk-Wapsipinicon; Wabash
Indiana1913201614Blue-Sinking; Highland-Pigeon; Iroquois; Kankakee; Little Calumet-Galien; Lower East Fork White; Lower Ohio-Little Pigeon; Lower White; Middle Wabash-Little Vermilion; Muscatatuck; St. Joseph; St. Joseph; Tippecanoe; Wabash
Iowa194420125Apple-Plum; Coon-Yellow; Copperas-Duck; Little Sioux; Missouri-Little Sioux
Kansas1955201516Delaware; Independence-Sugar; Ladder; Lower Big Blue; Lower Kansas; Lower Marais Des Cygnes; Lower Smoky Hill; Medicine Lodge; Middle Kansas; Solomon; South Fork Ninnescah; Spring; Tarkio-Wolf; Upper Cimarron-Bluff; Upper Smoky Hill; Upper Verdigris
Kentucky1973201510Highland-Pigeon; Kentucky; Little Scioto-Tygarts; Lower Kentucky; Lower Ohio-Little Pigeon; Middle Ohio-Laughery; Obey; Ohio Brush-Whiteoak; Rolling Fork; Salt
Louisiana194920151Eastern Louisiana Coastal
Maine200320092Piscataqua-Salmon Falls; Saco
Maryland187720177Chester-Sassafras; Gunpowder-Patapsco; Lower Susquehanna; Middle Potomac-Anacostia-Occoquan; Middle Potomac-Catoctin; Patuxent; Youghiogheny
Massachusetts190820158Blackstone; Charles; Concord; Housatonic; Hudson-Hoosic; Merrimack River; Middle Connecticut; Narragansett
Michigan1910201845Au Sable; Betsie-Platte; Black-Macatawa; Boardman-Charlevoix; Brule; Cheboygan; Clinton; Escanaba; Flint; Great Lakes Region; Huron; Kalamazoo; Kawkawlin-Pine; Keweenaw Peninsula; Lake Erie; Lake Huron; Lake Michigan; Lake St. Clair; Little Calumet-Galien; Lower Grand; Manistee; Maple; Menominee; Muskegon; Northeastern Lake Michigan; Northwestern Lake Huron; Northwestern Lake Michigan; Ontonagon; Ottawa-Stony; Pere Marquette-White; Pigeon-Wiscoggin; Raisin; Saginaw; Shiawassee; Southeastern Lake Michigan; St. Clair; St. Clair-Detroit; St. Joseph; St. Marys; Tacoosh-Whitefish; Thornapple; Thunder Bay; Tiffin; Upper Grand; Western Lake Erie
Minnesota1901201841Bois De Sioux; Buffalo-Whitewater; Cannon; Clearwater-Elk; Coon-Yellow; Cottonwood; Crow; Crow Wing; Elk-Nokasippi; Iowa; Kettle; Lake Superior; Le Sueur; Lower Minnesota; Lower Red; Lower St. Croix; Middle Minnesota; Minnesota; Mississippi Headwaters; Mississippi Headwaters; Otter Tail; Pine; Platte-Spunk; Rainy Headwaters; Rainy Lake; Redeye; Redwood; Root; Rum; Rush-Vermillion; Sandhill-Wilson; Sauk; Snake; St. Louis; Twin Cities; Upper Minnesota; Upper Mississippi-Blac; Upper Mississippi-Black-Root; Upper Mississippi-Crow-Rum; Upper Red; Watonwan
Mississippi197920122Tibbee; Town
Missouri190320179Big; Eleven Point; Lower Chariton; Lower Missouri; Meramec; Missouri Region; Spring; Upper Mississippi-Salt; Upper White
Montana197720169Bitterroot; Bullwhacker-Dog; Fort Peck Reservoir; Gallatin; Lower Clark Fork; Lower Flathead; Madison; Missouri Region; Smith
Nebraska196520156Lewis and Clark Lake; Loup; Middle North Platte-Scotts Bluff; Missouri; Missouri; Missouri-Nishnabotna
Nevada197319771Truckee
New Hampshire187920167Black-Ottauquechee; Merrimack River; Middle Connecticut; Nashua; Piscataqua-Salmon Falls; West; Winnipesaukee River
New Jersey186620034Lower Delaware; Mid-Atlantic Region; Middle Delaware-Musconetcong; Raritan
New Mexico194519811Rio Grande-Albuquerque
New York1879201548Ausable River; Bronx; Buffalo-Eighteenmile; Cattaraugus; Chateaugay-English; Chaumont-Perch; Chautauqua-Conneaut; Chemung; Chenango; Conewango; Hackensack-Passaic; Headwaters St. Lawrence River; Housatonic; Hudson-Hoosic; Hudson-Wappinger; Indian; Irondequoit-Ninemile; Lake Champlain; Lake Ontario; Long Island; Lower Genesee; Lower Hudson; Lower Hudson; Mettawee River; Middle Delaware-Mongaup-Brodhead; Middle Hudson; Mohawk; Niagara; Northeastern Lake Ontario; Oak Orchard-Twelvemile; Oneida; Oswegatchie; Richelieu; Rondout; Sacandaga; Salmon-Sandy; Saranac River; Saugatuck; Schoharie; Seneca; Southern Long Island; St. Lawrence; Tioga; Upper Allegheny; Upper Delaware; Upper Genesee; Upper Hudson; Upper Susquehanna
North Carolina195019683Albemarle-Chowan; Upper Catawba; Upper Pee Dee
North Dakota197520094Lake Sakakawea; Lower Sheyenne; Painted Woods-Square Butte; Willow
Ohio1910201820Ashtabula-Chagrin; Cuyahoga; Hocking; Huron-Vermilion; Lake Erie; Licking; Little Miami; Little Muskingum-Middle Island; Mahoning; Middle Ohio-Raccoon; Ohio Brush-Whiteoak; Paint; Raccoon-Symmes; Sandusky; St. Marys; Tuscarawas; Upper Great Miami; Upper Ohio; Upper Scioto; Wills
Oklahoma193619858Bois D'arc-Island; Cache; Illinois; Lake Texoma; Lower Canadian-Deer; Lower Canadian-Walnut; Lower Washita; Neosho
Oregon1947201725Applegate; Coast Fork Willamette; Lost; Lower Columbia; Lower Columbia-Sandy; Lower Crooked; Lower Deschutes; Lower Owyhee; Lower Rogue; Lower Willamette; Mckenzie; Middle Columbia-Hood; Middle Columbia-Lake Wallula; Middle Owyhee; Middle Rogue; Middle Willamette; Oregon closed basins; Siuslaw; South Santiam; Tualatin; Umatilla; Umpqua; Upper Klamath; Upper Rogue; Upper Willamette
Pennsylvania1861201735Allegheny; Bald Eagle; Clarion; Connoquenessing; Conococheague-Opequon; Crosswicks-Neshaminy; French; Kiskiminetas; Lake Erie; Lehigh; Lower Allegheny; Lower Delaware; Lower Delaware; Lower Juniata; Lower Monongahela; Lower Susquehanna; Lower Susquehanna; Lower Susquehanna-Penns; Lower Susquehanna-Swatara; Mahoning; Middle Allegheny-Tionesta; Middle Delaware-Mongaup-Brodhead; Middle Delaware-Musconetcong; Middle West Branch Susquehanna; Raystown; Schuylkill; Shenango; Upper Allegheny; Upper Delaware; Upper Juniata; Upper Ohio; Upper Susquehanna; Upper Susquehanna-Lackawanna; Upper Susquehanna-Tunkhannock; Youghiogheny
Rhode Island193220152Massachusetts-Rhode Island Coastal; Narragansett
South Carolina199719972Cooper; Wateree
South Dakota1965201813Angostura Reservoir; Bois De Sioux; Fort Randall Reservoir; Lewis and Clark Lake; Lewis and Clark Lake; Lower James; Lower Lake Oahe; Middle Big Sioux; Middle Cheyenne-Spring; Ponca; Rapid; Upper James; Upper Minnesota
Tennessee1946201713French Broad-Holston; Kentucky Lake; Lower Clinch; Lower Cumberland; Lower Cumberland-Sycamore; Lower Mississippi-Memphis; Middle Tennessee-Chickamauga; Obion; South Fork Holston; Tennessee Region; Upper Tennessee; Watauga; Watts Bar Lake
Texas194319989Austin-Travis Lakes; Buchanan-Lyndon B. Johnson Lakes; Lake Texoma; Lower Frio; Lower Guadalupe; Red-Lake Texoma; San Marcos; Tierra Blanca; Upper Trinity
Utah193719885Jordan; Lower Bear; Lower Weber; Upper Bear; Upper Green-Flaming Gorge Reservoir
Vermont191120104Black-Ottauquechee; Lake Champlain; Mettawee River; West
Virginia1874200216Conococheague-Opequon; French Broad-Holston; Lower Chesapeake; Lower James; Lower Potomac; Maury; Middle New; Middle Potomac-Anacostia-Occoquan; North Fork Shenandoah; Roanoke; Shenandoah; Upper Clinch; Upper James; Upper New; Upper Roanoke; Upper Tennessee
Washington1947200729Banks Lake; Crescent-Hoko; Deschutes; Dungeness-Elwha; Duwamish; Hangman; Kettle; Lake Washington; Little Spokane; Lower Columbia; Lower Columbia-Clatskanie; Lower Crab; Lower Skagit; Lower Snake; Lower Snake-Tucannon; Lower Yakima; Middle Columbia-Hood; Middle Columbia-Lake Wallula; Nisqually; Nooksack; Okanogan; Palouse; Pend Oreille; Puget Sound; Puyallup; Upper Columbia-Entiat; Upper Columbia-Priest Rapids; Upper Yakima; Wenatchee
West Virginia193020156Greenbrier; Little Kanawha; Potomac; Shenandoah; Upper Ohio-Shade; Upper Ohio-Wheeling
Wisconsin1905201858Apple-Plum; Bad-Montreal; Baraboo; Beartrap-Nemadji; Black; Black-Presque Isle; Brule; Buffalo-Whitewater; Castle Rock; Chippewa; Coon-Yellow; Des Plaines; Door-Kewaunee; Duck-Pensaukee; Eau Claire; Flambeau; Fox; Grant-Little Maquoketa; Jump; Kickapoo; La Crosse-Pine; Lake Dubay; Lake Michigan; Lake Superior; Lake Winnebago; Lower Chippewa; Lower Fox; Lower Rock; Lower St. Croix; Lower Wisconsin; Manitowoc-Sheboygan; Menominee; Middle Rock; Milwaukee; Namekagon; Northwestern Lake Michigan; Oconto; Ontonagon; Pecatonica; Peshtigo; Pike-Root; Red Cedar; Rock; Rush-Vermillion; South Fork Flambeau; St. Croix; St. Louis; Sugar; Trempealeau; Upper Chippewa; Upper Fox; Upper Fox; Upper Mississippi Region; Upper Rock; Upper St. Croix; Upper Wisconsin; Wisconsin; Wolf
Wyoming197920147Clear; Lower Wind; New Fork; Pathfinder-Seminoe Reservoirs; Shoshone; Upper Belle Fourche; Upper Green-Flaming Gorge Reservoir

Table last updated 7/14/2018

† Populations may not be currently present.


Ecology: Potamogeton crispus can survive and grow at very low light levels (less than 1% of the surface irradiance) and low water temperatures (1-4°C) (Stuckey et al. 1978; Tobiessen and Snow 1983).  As such, the plant thrives in “polluted waters” with low light penetration.  P. crispus is often found growing in the deepest vascular plant zone and, in waters with higher light penetration, can be found in 5-7 meter depth contours (Tobiessen and Snow 1983).  P. crispus survives under the ice throughout the winter, then exhibits rapid growth in the spring when water temperatures rise above 10°C at a growth rate of 8-10 cm/day (Tobiessen and Snow 1983), allows P. crispus to exploit the warming waters before other aquatic plants begin to grow.

Germination of seeds is not well understood, but not considered to be the primary means of reproduction (Catling and Dobson 1985; Godfrey and Wooten 1981; Nichols and Shaw 1986).

Although examination for P. crispus hybridization has been limited, two hybrids exist globally, and one hybrid is known to exist in North America.  The hybrid Potamogeton crispus x P. praelongus (= P. x undulatus Wolfgang ex Schultes & Schultes f.) has been confirmed from a northeastern Indiana lake (Alix and Scribailo 2006).  Potamogeton x cooperi (Fryer) Fryer, a hybrid between P. crispus and P. perfoliatus, was found in Europe (Kaplan and Fehrer 2004). Both P. crispus and P. perfoliatus are found in the Great Lakes, but P. x cooperi has yet to be discovered in North America.

In waters too turbid to support other submersed macrophytes, P. crispus may provide ecosystem benefits for fish and wildlife habitat and a source of macroinvertebrate food organisms.  Several species of dabbling ducks are known to eat P. crispus seeds and turions (Hunt and Lutz 1959).

Means of Introduction: The species has spread across much of the United States, presumably by migrating waterfowl, intentional planting for waterfowl and wildlife habitat, and possibly even as a contaminant in water used to transport fishes and fish eggs to hatcheries (Stuckey 1979). According to Balgie et al. (2010), P. crispus can also spread by plant fragments attached to boats and equipment that are not properly cleaned.

Status: Established in all of the continental United States and Ontario in Canada.

Impact of Introduction: Potamogeton crispus can outcompete native species for light and space early in the growing season; often reducing plant diversity and altering predator/prey relationship (ENSR International 2005; WI DNR 2012). P. crispus can provide habitat for aquatic life in the winter and early spring when native plants are not present (IL DNR 2005). Populations provide habitat for macroinvertbrates and fish, including spawning substrate (Catling and Dobson 1985; ENSR International 2005; GLC 2006; Lembi 2003). Aqueous extracts of P. crispus demonstrated antimicrobial activity against 17 different microorganisms including Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus (Fareed et al. 2008).

Large infestations of P. crispus can impede water flow and cause stagnant water conditions (Catling and Dobson 1985; ENSR International 2005; Lui et al. 2010). A large amount of phosphorus is released during decomposition, which can lead to eutrophication and algal blooms (Benson et al. 2004; WI DNR 2012), and oxygen concentration in the water can drop significantly, impacting fish (IPANE 2013; Lui et al. 2010). P. crispus has been shown to remove organic contaminants such as dibutyl phthalate and phthalic acid esters (Chi and Cai 2012; Chi and Yang 2012), and inorganics such as cerium, cobalt, cesium, cadmium, and their isotopes (Hafez et al. 1992; Sivaci et al. 2008).

Surface mats of P. crispus can inhibit aquatic recreation, such as boating, fishing, and swimming, and reduce the aesthetic value of waterfront property (IL DNR 2009; Jensen 2009; WI DNR 2012). Expensive control programs are often needed to reduce the impacts on recreational activities and to maintain waterfront property values (IL DNR 2005). Waterfront property owners in Michigan spend an estimated $20 million annually to control aquatic invasive plants—primarily Eurasian watermilfoil and curlyleaf pondweed (MSGCP 2007).

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Author: Thayer, D.D., I.A. Pfingsten, L. Cao, and L. Berent.

Revision Date: 3/18/2016

Peer Review Date: 2/9/2016

Citation Information:
Thayer, D.D., I.A. Pfingsten, L. Cao, and L. Berent., 2018, Potamogeton crispus L.: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=1134, Revision Date: 3/18/2016, Peer Review Date: 2/9/2016, Access Date: 7/18/2018

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.

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Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2018]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [7/18/2018].

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