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Curly-leaf Pondweed

Photo by Kristian Peters

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Common Name: Curly-leaf pondweed
Scientific Name: Potamogeton crispus
Origin: Europe, Africa, and Australia


Curly-leaf pondweed is a submerged perennial that resembles many native pondweeds. Care must be taken to correctly identify this species. Rigid, reddish-green, oblong leaves have distinct, finely-toothed, wavy edges. The plant’s flat, reddish-brown stem grows from 1-16 ft. Most reproduction is from winter buds, called turions.


Curly-leaf pondweed is tolerant of low light and low water temperatures, and invades shallow and deep waters.


New plants form under ice cover during late winter, making curly-leaf pondweed one of the first plants to emerge in early summer. Plant die-offs in mid-summer may cause a critical loss of oxygen.


Control methods for curly-leaf pondweed have included physical, mechanical or chemical techniques. There are many native look-alike pondweeds. Please confirm identification before beginning any management program.

Regional Distribution


WNY PRISM Priority

Tier 4 – Local Control

Invasive Species Priorities – Tier Chart

Curly-leaf pondweed is a prohibited species in New York State – for more information on Prohibited and Regulated Species, visit

Native Alternatives 

Clasping-leaved pondweed (Potamogeton perfoliatus)

Ivy-leaf duckweed (Lemna trisulca)

Large-leaf pondweed (Potamogeton amplifolius)