Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are seeing quite a bit of a new “weed” in Knops Pond and Lost Lake. It is low lying and mostly along the shore. It is bright green and can form dense matts or can be individual plants. I attached a picture of a single plant that I took today after untangling a mat of it that I pulled from Knops Pond.
Using the handy dandy DCR “A Guide to Aquatic Plants in Massachusetts” I tried identifying it based on its characteristics which are:
Submerged, Leaves On a Stem, Dissected Leaves, Leaves Without Bladders, Whorled Leaves (12 to 14 leaves in whorl), Branching
I identified it as Chara and my conclusion was confirmed by the Tom Flannery from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation and Erika Haug from Aquatic Control Technology as Chara (Muskgrass) which is a stonewart and not a plant but an algae. I pasted a drawing of Chara below.
What you might see are the mats of Chara on the bottom that look different than the picture of the single plant. The good news is that it is not a non-native invasive weed and it is beneficial in moderation to the lake in that it consumes nutrients and helps prevent the regrowth of invasive weeds.