When you think of a flower, you most probably think of something big and colorful. Maybe a rose or a sunflower, or a tulip. You probably wouldn’t think of any aquatic flowers first, even though some of them are very pretty and even colorful.
Water lilies and pond lilies are probably the biggest and most conspicuous of water flowers. Huge white water lilies are more familiar from lakes and other fresh water bodies but they can be found in river estuaries, shallow bays near the coastline and other low salinity habitats at the sea as well. Yellow pond lilies are pretty, almost round and ball-like flowers that can be found in similar habitats with the water lilies.
Some of the flowers reach to the surface of the water, like buttercups (Ranunculus ssp) or European water-plantain (Alisma plantago-aquatica). They have small but beautiful little flowers that either float at the surface of the water (Ranunculus) or are erect above the water (Alisma).
Some of the flowers are very modest. Claspingleaf pondweed (Potamogeton perfoliatus) flowers reach the surface but they are like brown little pine cones and don’t really resemble flowers that much. Some of the humble flowers can be found underwater – Baltic water-plantain (Alisma wahlenbergii) flowers never really open. They can be found underwater and they always look like tightly closed little fists.
Many of the aquatic vascular plants don’t always do that much with their flowers. They might spread from broken pieces of the plant or from their roots. Some flowers serve a purpose, though. Some are pollinated by flying insects above water and some might get pollinated by water, like wind for the terrestrial plants.
Next time when you go to the sea shore, look around and try to spot some aquatic plant flowers.