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Genus Potamogeton Family Potamogetonaceae

Description: Submerged or attached floating annuals or perennials with long straggling stems; often producing an extensive rhizome system and/or turions.

Leaves alternate, submerged and/or floating, with stipular more or less sheathing bases that may be decayed and inconspicuous on older parts.

Inflorescences mostly emergent, spicate, several–many-flowered. Flowers 3–4 mm diam. Perianth segments 4. Stamens 4. Carpels 2–5.

Nutlets short-beaked, indehiscent, sessile, smooth to ridged or tuberculate, fused to the enclosed, looped seed.

Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 100 species, cosmopolitan. Australia: 11 species (native), all States.

Two species, P. reduncus and P. tepperi have been removed from this treatment. These species do not occur in NSW. K.L.Gibbons, 7 Apr. 2020.

Text by S. W. L. Jacobs & S. Papassotiriou (1993); edited KL Wilson (Sept 2011)
Taxon concept:

Taxa not yet included in identification key
Potamogeton australiensis,    Potamogeton cheesemanii,    Potamogeton drummondii,    Potamogeton sulcatus,    Potamogeton x jacobsii

 Key to the species 
1Plants with upper leaves floating, petiolate and dissimilar to the submerged foliage2
Plants with all leaves submerged, sessile and similar3
2Floating leaves usually more than 1 cm wide (2–5 cm), several; common [this includes P. cheesemanii, P. sulcatus and other spp.]Potamogeton tricarinatus auct. non F.Muell. & A.Benn. ex A.Benn.
Floating leaves usually less than 1 cm wide, few; not common
                       Back to 1
Potamogeton octandrus
3Leaves less than 3 mm wide with an obvious ligule and sheath loosely or not enclosing stemPotamogeton pectinatus
Leaves more than 3 mm wide, no obvious sheath, but with a stipule more or less resembling a ligule
                       Back to 1
4Leaves linear, 3–6 mm wide, margins entire, flat, apex obtuse; stipules entire, membranous, becoming laciniatePotamogeton ochreatus
Leaves not linear, usually more than 6 mm wide and/or with undulate margins, apex more or less acute to obtuse; stipules present and membranous, not becoming laciniate, or reduced or falling early
                       Back to 3
5Leaves stem-clasping at base, ovate, cordate, margins entirePotamogeton perfoliatus
Leaves not obviously stem-clasping, linear-oblong, not cordate, margins minutely toothed
                       Back to 4
Potamogeton crispus

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