Native Aquatic Plants Protect Lake George Ecosystem

Aquatic plant species found growing in or near the lake are known as Macrophytes. Fifty native macrophytes have been identified in Lake George. This is the highest known submersed plant species diversity of any lake in the Adirondack Park. The plants provide food and shelter for fish and invertebrates.  They also produce oxygen, trap sediment, and absorb nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous.

Common aquatic plants

The water depth, available sunlight, and bottom sediment help to determine the aquatic plants growing in a particular area. If the slope of the bottom is very steep or if the littoral zone is exposed to the continuous pounding of wave action, plants may be scarce. However, many of our shallow bays provide good conditions for plant growth.

Plants commonly found in Lake George bays include Duck Celery (Vallisneria Americana), Coontail (Ceratophyllum demersum), and Pipewort (Heterantera dubia), along with a variety of types of pondweeds (Potamogeton spp.). Lake George also boasts four native milfoil species, including one that is threatened in New York State.

Rare, threatened or endangered aquatic plants

The seven Lake George plant species below are classified as endangered, threatened, or rare by New York State:

Endangered Lake George aquatic plant.



Water awlwort


(Subularia aquatica)


Image credit: Paul Hackney


Water Marigold, a threatened Lake George aquatic plant.



Water marigold


(Bidens beckii)


Image credit: Frank Koshere, WI DNR


Lake Cress is one of the many threatened Lake George aquatic plants.





(Neobeckia aquatica)


Image credit: Charles T. Bryson, USDA,


One of Lake George's aquatic plants, the Nothern Pondweed is in danger of extinction.



Northern pondweed


(Potamogeton alpinus)


Image credit: Don Cameron, MNAP


A threatened Lake George aquatic plant.



Alternateflower watermilfoil


(Myriophyllum alterniflorum)


Image credit: © Biopix: N Sloth


Lake George has many threatened aquatic plants, including the lesser bladderwort pictured.



Lesser bladderwort


(Utricularia minor)


Image credit: UW-Stevens Point and
Derek Anderson


Large spored quillwort is a rare Lake George aquatic plant.



Large spored quillwort


(Isoetes lacustris)


Image credit: © Ian Dodkins,


Native aquatic plants in Lake George:

  • Water marigold (Bidens beckii) THREATENED
  • Coontail (Ceratophyllum demersum)
  • Waterweed (Elodea canadensis)
  • Pipewort (Eriocaulon septangulare)
  • Water star grass (Heterantera dubia)
  • Quillwort (Isoetes echinospora)
  • Large-sprored quillwort (Isoetes lacustris) RARE
  • Water lobelia (Lobelia dortmanna)
  • Alternateflower watermilfoil (Myriophyllum alterniflorum) THREATENED
  • Shortspike watermilfoil (Myriophyllum exalbescens)
  • Slender watermilfoil (Myriophyllum tenellum)
  • Whorled watermilfoil (Myriophyllum verticillatum)
  • Slender naiad (Najas flexilis)
  • Lake-cress (Neobeckia aquatica) THREATENED
  • Northern pondweed (Potamogeton alpinus) THREATENED
  • Largeleaf pondweed (Potamogeton amplifolius)
  • Ribbonleaf pondweed (Potamogeton epihydrus)
  • Variableleaf pondweed (Potamogeton gramineus)
  • Floating pondweed (Potamogeton natans)
  • Bluntleaf pondweed (Potamogeton obtusifolius)
  • Claspingleaf pondweed (Potamogeton perfoliatus)
  • Whitestem pondweed (Potamogeton praelongus)
  • Robbins’ pondweed (Potamogeton robbinsii)
  • Spiral pondweed (Potamogeton spirillus)
  • Flatstem pondweed (Potamogeton zosteriformis)
  • Water buttercup (Ranunculus longirostris)
  • Grassy arrowhead (Sagittaria graminea)
  • Water awlwort (Subularia aquatica) ENDANGERED
  • Lesser bladderwort (Utricularia minor) THREATENED
  • Common bladderwort (Utricularia vulgaris)
  • Duck celery/ Eelgrass (Vallisneria americana)
  • Horned pondweed (Zannichellia palustris)

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Lake George Association

Lake George Association