Potamogeton crispus - L.
Curly Pondweed
Other English Common Names: Curly-leaved Pondweed
Other Common Names: curly pondweed
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Potamogeton crispus L. (TSN 39007)
French Common Names: potamot crépu
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.145742
Element Code: PMPOT03060
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Pondweed Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Monocotyledoneae Najadales Potamogetonaceae Potamogeton
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Potamogeton crispus
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 25Jun1984
Global Status Last Changed: 25Jun1984
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA
Nation: Canada
National Status: NNA (15May1997)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alabama (SNA), Arizona (SNA), Arkansas (SNA), California (SNA), Colorado (SNA), Connecticut (SNA), Delaware (SNA), District of Columbia (SNA), Florida (SNA), Georgia (SNR), Illinois (SNA), Indiana (SNA), Iowa (SNA), Kansas (SNA), Kentucky (SNA), Louisiana (SNA), Maryland (SNA), Massachusetts (SNR), Michigan (SNA), Minnesota (SNA), Missouri (SNA), Montana (SNA), Nebraska (SNA), Nevada (SNA), New Hampshire (SNA), New Jersey (SNA), New Mexico (SNA), New York (SNA), North Carolina (SNA), North Dakota (SNA), Ohio (SNA), Oklahoma (SNA), Oregon (SNA), Pennsylvania (SNA), Rhode Island (SNA), South Dakota (SNA), Tennessee (SNA), Texas (SNA), Utah (SNA), Vermont (SNA), Virginia (SNA), Washington (SNA), West Virginia (SNA), Wisconsin (SNA), Wyoming (SNA)
Canada Alberta (SNA), British Columbia (SNA), Ontario (SNA), Quebec (SNA), Saskatchewan (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States ALexotic, ARexotic, AZexotic, CAexotic, COexotic, CTexotic, DCexotic, DEexotic, FLexotic, GA, IAexotic, ILexotic, INexotic, KSexotic, KYexotic, LAexotic, MA, MDexotic, MIexotic, MNexotic, MOexotic, MTexotic, NCexotic, NDexotic, NEexotic, NHexotic, NJexotic, NMexotic, NVexotic, NYexotic, OHexotic, OKexotic, ORexotic, PAexotic, RIexotic, SDexotic, TNexotic, TXexotic, UTexotic, VAexotic, VTexotic, WAexotic, WIexotic, WVexotic, WYexotic
Canada ABexotic, BCexotic, ONexotic, QCexotic, SKexotic

Range Map
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Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
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Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
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Disclaimer: While I-Rank information is available over NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe is not actively developing or maintaining these data. Species with I-RANKs do not represent a random sample of species exotic in the United States; available assessments may be biased toward those species with higher-than-average impact.

I-Rank: Medium
Rounded I-Rank: Medium
I-Rank Reasons Summary: Potamogeton crispus has spread throughout much of the United States. It is found in every contiguous U.S. state except South Carolina. Potamogeton crispus occurs in quiet waters, especially brackish, alkaline, or eutrophic waters of ponds, lakes, and streams. Potamogeton crispus can grow in dense beds which outcompete native aquatic plants. It's dominance in some areas is probably due to competition avoidance, a consequence of its unusual life cycle. Potamogeton crispus reaches its peak biomass early in the season, produce flowers, fruits, and turions, and then declines. Its decaying vegetation, can reduce the dissolved oxygen in the water. The turions remain and germinate in fall, overwintering as small plants which get an early start the following season. Potamogeton crispus produces up to 900 turions per plant per year. Potamogeton crispus negatively impacts biodiversity. It is found at sites where a globally rare native submerged aquatic plant also occurs and likely competes with this species where they occur together. It is tolerant of pollution, eutrophic conditions, low light, very low water temperatures, and will invade shallow as well as deep water. It is dispersed by water, birds, and humans. Management is apparently moderately difficult.
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: High
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: Medium/Low
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: Medium/Low
I-Rank Review Date: 02Apr2004
Evaluator: Tomaino, A.
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: Native to Europe, Asia, Australia, and north Africa (GRIN 2001).

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Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES
Comments: Established outside cultivation in the U.S. (Kartesz 1999).

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: Potamogeton crispus has spread throughout much of the United States and occurs in quiet waters, especially brackish, alkaline, or eutrophic waters of ponds, lakes, and streams (FNA 2000).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:Medium/Low significance
Comments: When Potamogeton crispus dies back in late spring/early summer, the oxygen demand created by decomposition may severely deplete dissolved oxygen levels having a deleterious effect on fish (Cavers 1995).

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:Moderate significance
Comments: It reaches its peak biomass earlier than native submersed aquatics (Crowell, not dated). It grows above the native aquatic species and their subsequent growth is minimal (Nicholson and Best 1974 in Cavers 1995). Potamogeton crispus can grow in dense beds which outcompete native aquatic plants (ISSG 2004).

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:Moderate significance
Comments: It can occur as individual plants mixed with other aquatics or as dense beds where it dominates (Cavers 1995). Potamogeton crispus can grow in dense beds which outcompete native aquatic plants (ISSG 2004).

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:Moderate significance
Comments: Potamogeton crispus is found at sites where the critically imperiled Potagmogeton ogdenii also occurs (Hellquist and Mertinooke-Jongkind 2003). Potamogeton crispus likely competes with Potagmogeton ogdenii where they occur together. There are only six extant sites of Potagmogeton ogdenii in the United States (Hellquist and Mertinooke-Jongkind 2003). It is not known how many of these sites have been invaded by Potamogeton crispus, but due to the very small number of occurrences of Potagmogeton ogdenii, Potamogeton crispus may be having a significant impact on it.

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:Moderate significance
Comments: Potamogeton crispus is found at sites where the critically imperiled Potagmogeton ogdenii also occurs (Hellquist and Mertinooke-Jongkind 2003). Potamogeton crispus likely competes with Potagmogeton ogdenii where they occur together. There are only six extant sites of Potagmogeton ogdenii in the United States (Hellquist and Mertinooke-Jongkind 2003). Potamogeton crispus may also impact aquatic communities and other native species of conservation significance.

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: High

6. Current Range Size in Nation:High significance
Comments: In every continental U.S. state except South Carolina (Kartesz 1999; FNA 2000).

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:Moderate significance
Comments: In California, Potamogeton crispus is classified as a wildland pest of lesser invasiveness; it has a scattered distribution in ponds, lakes, and streams (CALEPPC 1999). In Missouri, it is a regional invasive, ocurring in 10 or fewer counties (MEEPC 2002). In Tennessee, it is considered a significant threat to native plant communities but not a severe threat (TNEPPC 2001). In Vermont it is classified as a Class B noxious weed and has been identified in Lake Champlain and at least 13 inland lakes (VT ANR and TNC 2003). In Minnesota, its is found in 540 lakes and 80% of the counties in the state (Crowell, not dated).

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:High significance
Comments: In every continental U.S. state except South Carolina (Kartesz 1999; FNA 2000).
At most 100% of ecoregional units, inferred from Kartesz (1999) and TNC (2001). At least 51% of ecoregional units, inferred from Kartesz (1999), (USACE 2001), and TNC (2001). In approximately 80-90% of HUC watersheds at the 4-digit level (USGS 2002).


9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:Low significance
Comments: Potamogeton crispus has spread throughout much of the United States and occurs in quiet waters, especially brackish, alkaline, or eutrophic waters of ponds, lakes, and streams (FNA 2000).
In New England, it is a species of alkaline or nutrient-rich waters; it occurs in lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, and salt marsh (Mehrhoff et al. 2003). It is tolerant of low light, very low water temperatures, and will invade shallow as well as deep water (VT ANR and TNC 2003). In California, occurs in ponds, lakes, and streams (CALEPPC 1999).


Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: Medium/Low

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:High/Low significance
Comments: It has expanded throughout North America, since its first collection in about 1840 (FNA 2000). It had spread throughout most of the U.S. by 1950 (Caver 1995). It is a species of alkaline or nutrient-rich waters and is tolerant of low light, very low water temperatures, and will invade shallow as well as deep water (VT ANR and TNC 2003). It is also tolerant of polluted water and slightly brackish water (Cavers 1995). Because of its wide tolerance of pollution and eutrophic conditions which are not decreasing, its range is presumed to be not decreasing. In Canada, it is spreading in some areas and not in others. In Quebec, it is established but is not a nuisance species and is not spreading (Cavers 1995). In contrast, it is spreading rapidly in western Canada where it was first noticed in the 1970s (Cavers 1995). It is a nuisance species in Ontario (Cavers 1995).

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Low significance
Comments: Inferred from USDA (1990) and Kartesz (1999), 30-90% of its potential range in the U.S. is currently occupied.

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:Moderate significance
Comments: The plant spreads via vegetative turions not by fruits; its seeds do not appear to be viable (Mehrhoff et al. 2003). Dispersal of turions is apparently mostly by water, but occasional dispersal by birds or humans is possible (Cavers 1995). It has spread throughout the continental United States by migrating waterfowl, intentional planting for waterfowl and wildlife habitat, and as a contaminant in water used to transport fish and fish eggs (USACE 2001).

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:High/Low significance
Comments: Potamogeton crispus can grow in dense beds which outcompete native aquatic plants (ISSG 2004). It's dominance in some areas is probably due to competition avoidance, a consequence of its unusual life cycle (Cavers 1995). Presumeably, it is not locally decreasing or stable.

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:Medium/Low significance
Comments: It is tolerant of pollution and eutrophic conditions (Cavers 1995) and apparently often occurs in these areas. Dispersal of turions is apparently mostly by water, but occasional dispersal by birds or humans is possible (Cavers 1995). Apparently it may be transported into relatively undisturbed waters by birds. It's dominance in some areas is probably due to competition avoidance, a consequence of its unusual life cycle (Caver 1995).

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:Low significance
Comments: Potamogeton crispus is a submerged aquatic and occurs in similar habitats in Canada and the U.S. (Cavers 1995).

16. Reproductive Characteristics:Low significance
Comments: It reaches its peak biomass earlier than native submersed aquatics (Crowell, not dated). Potamogeton crispus produce flowers, fruits, and turions in late spring. The plants then decay but the turions remain and germinate in fall, overwintering as small plants (FNA 2000). Because Potamogeton crispus declines during the summer months, it does not directly compete with the native submersed aquatics (USACE 2001). It produces up to 900 turions per plant per year (Cavers 1995). It can spread from plant fragments (Crowell, not dated). Potamogeton crispus spreads via its vegetative turions, not by fruits; its seeds do not appear to be viable (Mehrhoff et al. 2003). Apparently, turions are viable for at least two years (Crowell, not dated) and possibly longer.

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: Medium/Low

17. General Management Difficulty:Moderate significance
Comments: Two challenges associated with the management of Potamogeton crispus are minimizing damage to native plants and producing long-term control, which requires not only control in the year of treatment but preventing turions from being produced (Crowell, not dated). Apparently, turions are viable for at least two years (Crowell, not dated) and possibly longer. Two of the commonly used types of management are mechanical control methods such as cutting which can prevent turion production if it is done early in the season and herbicides, most of which give control only in the year of treatment (Crowell, not dated). Other methods of control include benthic barrier, drawdown, dredging, rotovation, and shading (USACE 2001). These methods may have significant environmental impacts and may or may not be appropriate for use in natural systems with native species (USACE 2001). However, they can be effective long-term. Ten years after dredging, biomass of Potamogeton crispus in Collins Lake, New York remained significantly lower than pre-dredging levels (Tobiessen et al. 1992 in USACE 2001).

18. Minimum Time Commitment:Low significance
Comments: Apparently, turions are viable for at least two years (Crowell, not dated) and possibly longer.

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:High/Low significance
Comments: Presumeably, both mechanical control and herbicides may impact native speices, at least to some extent. Other methods of control include benthic barrier, drawdown, dredging, rotovation, and shading may have significant environmental impacts and may or may not be appropriate for use in natural systems with native species (USACE 2001).

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:Medium significance/Insignificant
Comments: It restricts water-based recreation, is a nuisance in fish hatcheries, and crowds out native species that are more desirable for wildlife (Cavers 1995). When Potamogeton crispus dies back in late spring/early summer, the oxygen demand created by decomposition may serverely deplete dissolved oxygen levels having a deleterious effect on fish (Cavers 1995). Presumeably, accessibility is not a problem at least in some areas.
Authors/Contributors
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Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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