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Native Plant Trust: Go Botany Discover thousands of New England plants

Family: Zosteraceae — eel-grass family

Plants in the Zosteraceae are submersed, marine, perennial herbs growing from a network of horizontal stems rooted in the substrate. The flaccid leaves grow alternately along the stem and are long and narrow with untoothed edges. The flowers are arranged in a spike growing from the tip of the stem or from the junction of leaf and stem. A modified leaf called a spathe partially encloses the spiked inflorescence. The flowers are unisexual, and individual plants may have pollen-bearing or ovule-bearing flowers, or both. There are no sepals or petals. The pollen-bearing flowers have 1 stamen and ovule-bearing flowers have 1 ovary. The fruit resembles a seed-like fruit (an achene) but eventually ruptures irregularly to release the seed.

This family’s genera in New England

Visit this family in the Dichotomous Key