Species in the Hydrocharitaceae are annual or perennial aquatic plants that often grow below the water's surface. The leaf arrangement varies from all basal, to opposite or whorled. The leaf blades are undivided and may have minute spicules along the margin. They vary in shape from species to species and may be parallel-veined, or have branching or palmate veins. The flowers are solitary or arranged in branched clusters. The flowers have either pollen-bearing or ovule-bearing parts, sometimes both. The flowers may attach directly to the stem or may be on a short stalk and are housed within a large, semi-enclosing appendage called a spathe. There are 3 sepals, which may or may not be fused together, and either 0 or 3 petals; these attach above the ovary. There are 1 to many stamens, which sometimes are fused together. The fruit is berry-like or capsule-like and contains many seeds. Some of the species in this family were formerly considered to belong to the Najadaceae family.
This Family’s Genera in New England:
Visit this family in the Dichotomous Key