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Sheathed Pondweed (Stuckenia vaginata)
Sheathed Pondweed (Stuckenia vaginata), a State Threatened plant, is found in shallow water of lakes and creeks. Blooming occurs throughout July; fruiting occurs early August through early September. The optimal identification period for this species is throughout August.
Synonyms: Potamogeton interruptus, Coleogeton vaginatus, Stuckenia vaginata
- Distinguishing characteristics: The adnate stipule sheaths of this species make it unique among other Potamogetons in Wisconsin. Stuckenia species also have adnate stipule sheaths and appear similar to Potamogetons, but can be distinguished by the percentage of the sheath that is adnate. In Stuckenia sp. the sheath is adnate for 80 to 90% of its length. In Potamogeton vaginatus, the sheath is adnate for closer to 50% of its length.
- Flower characteristics: Spike with 5 to 12 nearly equidistant whorls of flowers, 3 to 8 cm at maturity.
- Fruit characteristics: 3 to 3.5 mm.
- Leaf characteristics: Leaves 1 to 2 mm wide; stipular sheaths (at least of the primary leaves) adnate, subinflated, 2 to 3 times as thick as the stem, 2 to 5 cm, open to the base.
- Blooming phenology: throughout July
- Fruiting phenology: early August through early September
- Optimum time to identify: throughout August
- Growth form: Aquatic forb-submergent
- Vegetative reproduction:
- Life cycle: Perennial
- Comments: Associated Species: Potamogeton crispus, P. richardsonii, P. zosteriformis, Elodea canadensis, Hypericum boreale, Ranunculus longirostris, Vallisneria americana, Myriophyllum spp., Ceratophyllum demersum, Nymphaea odorata.
Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin
The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Sheathed Pondweed (Stuckenia vaginata). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.
|Federal Status in Wisconsin||none|
|Tracked by NHI||Y|
Habitats and landscapes
The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.
General habitat information
- Habitat description: Found in shallow water of lakes and creeks.
This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Sheathed Pondweed. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).
This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Sheathed Pondweed. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.
The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.
Sheathed Pondweed (Stuckenia vaginata) has very few known occurrences in the state and is of the highest priority for conservation; we encourage you to consult with your District Ecologist or NHI Botanist for specific recommendations for your site.
These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.
- Avoid known individual plant locations and conduct operations elsewhere when they are least likely to cause damage. Ideally, this would involve frozen, snow-covered ground. However, in areas of the state where frozen conditions are unreliable, very dry soils late in the growing season might be the best available alternative. Consult with a biologist, if needed.
- Avoid broadcast spraying of herbicides; use care with spot spraying.
Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species
- This species is likely sensitive to water quality. Following BMPs around streams and buffering associated drainages will reduce eutrophication and prevent water quality degradation.
Links to additional Sheathed Pondweed information
Other links related to vascular plants (all exit the DNR website)
- Wisconsin Vascular Plants
- Freckmann Herbarium
- Atlas of Wisconsin Prairie and Savanna Flora - Wisconsin State Herbarium
- USDA - NRCS Plants Database
- USGS Midwestern Wetland Flora - field office guide to plant species
- Cofrin Center for Biodiversity Herbarium
- Intermountain Herbarium Grasses of North America
- Orchids of Wisconsin
Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin.