Najas flexilis (Willd.) Rostk. & Schmidt

nodding waternymph, wavy waternymph

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Wavy water-nymph is a common aquatic plant throughout New England. It is also found in Europe, where it is quite rare. It is helpful to have seeds present on the plant to separate it from its closest relative, Guadalupe waternymph (Najas guadalupensis). It is an important food for many waterfowl, marsh birds, muskrats, and fish.

Habitat

Lacustrine (in lakes or ponds), riverine (in rivers or streams)

Characteristics

Habitat
aquatic
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Leaf position
the leaves are all submerged underwater
Leaf arrangement
opposite: there are two leaves per node along the stem
Leaf blade length
2–6 mm
Petal or sepal number
there are no petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower, or they are not clearly present
Petal color
NA
Specific leaf type
the leaf is not divided, rather the blade is made up of one segment
Floating leaf shape
NA
Underwater leaf blade width
0.2–0.6 mm
Fruit type (general)
the fruit is dry but does not split open when ripe
Underwater leaf length
2–6 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Clonal plantlets
    Turion length
    0 mm
  • Flowers
    Anther length
    1.1–2.7 mm
    Carpels fused
    the carpel is solitary or (if 2 or more) the carpels are not fused to one another
    Flower lower lip length
    0 mm
    Flower number
    1–2
    Flower position
    the flowers are below the surface of the water
    Flower symmetry
    NA
    Inflorescence length
    1.1–4.7 mm
    Inflorescence type
    the flowers grow out of the axil (point where a branch or leaf is attached to the main stem)
    Length of flower stalk
    At least 0 mm
    Length of peduncle
    At least 0 mm
    Nectar spur
    NA
    Number of carpels
    0–1
    Ovary position
    the sepals and/or petals are attached below the ovary
    Palate on corolla
    NA
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes neither petals nor sepals
    Petal appearance
    NA
    Petal color
    NA
    Petal fringed edges
    NA
    Petal fusion
    NA
    Petal hairs on inner/upper surface
    NA
    Petal length
    0 mm
    Petal number
    0
    Petal or sepal number
    there are no petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower, or they are not clearly present
    Pistil number
    • 0
    • 1
    Sepal appearance
    NA
    Sepal length
    0 mm
    Sepal number
    0
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    NA
    Spur length
    0 mm
    Stamen number
    • 0
    • 1 or 2
    Stamen position relative to petals
    NA
    Stamens fused
    the stamens are not fused to one another
    Stamens fused to petals
    the stamens are not fused to the petals or tepals
    Style length
    1.5–1.7 mm
    Style number
    0–1
  • Fruits or seeds
    Fruit beak length
    At least 1 mm
    Fruit length
    2–3.5 mm
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is dry but does not split open when ripe
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is an achene (dry, usually 1-seeded, does not separate or split open at maturity)
  • Glands or sap
    Oil glands on nodes
    none of the nodes have oil glands
    Sap
    the sap is clear and watery
  • Growth form
    Lifespan
    the plant lives only a single year or less
    Root septa
    the roots do not have transverse septa
    Roots floating in water
    there are no clusters of roots floating in the water
    Turions
    there are no turions on the plant
    Underground organs
    there are only slender roots on the plant
  • Leaves
    Bract position (Sparganium)
    NA
    Bract relative length
    At least 3854 mm
    Bracts
    neither the flowers nor their pedicels have bracts
    Floating leaf basal lobes
    NA
    Floating leaf blade width
    0 mm
    Floating leaf length
    0 mm
    Floating leaf shape
    NA
    Floating leaf tip
    NA
    Floral bract form
    NA
    Floral bract length
    0 mm
    Leaf arrangement
    opposite: there are two leaves per node along the stem
    Leaf blade length
    2–6 mm
    Leaf blade veins
    the lateral veins radiate from the base and continue to spread away from the centerline of the leaf, or branch off the central vein at intervals
    Leaf blade width
    0.2–0.6 mm
    Leaf position
    the leaves are all submerged underwater
    Leaf special features
    none of the mentioned special features are present
    Leaf-like branch segments
    0
    Leaf-like branch shape
    NA
    Specific leaf type
    the leaf is not divided, rather the blade is made up of one segment
    Staminate bract edge (Myriophyllum)
    NA
    Stipules
    the plant has stipules
    Trap-bladder length
    0 mm
    Underwater leaf air passage number
    At least 1439
    Underwater leaf air passage relative width
    At least 4336
    Underwater leaf air passage row number
    0
    Underwater leaf blade edges
    the underwater leaf has tiny, one-celled spines or points along the edge
    Underwater leaf blade shape
    the underwater leaf blade is linear (very narrow with more or less parallel sides)
    Underwater leaf blade veins
    1
    Underwater leaf blade width
    0.2–0.6 mm
    Underwater leaf length
    2–6 mm
    Underwater leaf stalk
    no
    Underwater leaf stalk length
    0 mm
    Underwater leaf tip shape
    the tip of the underwater leaf is acute (sharply pointed)
    Veins in floating leaf
    0
  • Place
    Habitat
    aquatic
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • in lakes or ponds
    • in rivers or streams
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Flowering stem growth form
    the flowering stem trails along the substrate, or floats in the water

Wetland Status

Occurs only in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: OBL)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Najas quadalupensis:
testa of seeds dull, minutely pitted and appearing so even at low magnification, seeds fusiform, widest at the middle, and leaves 0.2–2.1 mm wide (vs. N. flexilis, with the testa of seeds glossy, very minutely pitted and appearing +/- smooth at low magnification, seeds narrow-obovoid to broad-obovoid, widest above the middle, and leaves 0.2–0.6 mm wide).
Najus gracillima:
each margin of the leaf blade with 13–17 spinules and apex of leaf sheath truncate or auriculate (vs. N. flexilis, with each margin of the leaf blade with 35–80 minute, unicellular spinules and apex of leaf sheath convexly tapering into base of blade).

Synonyms

  • Caulinia flexilis Willd.
  • Najas caespitosa (Maguire) Reveal

Genus

Najas

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Najas flexilis (Willd.) Rostk. & Schmidt N

wavy waternymph. Caulinia flexilis Willd.; Najas caespitosa (Maguire) Reveal • CT, MA, ME, NH, 
 RI, VT; throughout. Still or slow-moving, circumneutral to basic water of lakes and rivers.