Why is it so green?

If you’ve visited a local pond during the summer months, you have likely noticed the carpet of green that covers most of the surface of the water.  The green is not algae, as most people might expect.

The small light green and free floating pods are duckweed.  This plant floats on or just beneath the surface of still or slow moving bodies of fresh water and wetlands.  Duckweed spreads easily and can become abundant on the surface of the water.  Stagnant water and heat are needed for this plant to grow.

Duckweed serves as a habitat for many aquatic insects that use its foliage to hide or as a food source.  It’s also nutritious food for many waterfowl, especially ducks…hence the name!

If you’ve visited the Dismal Swamp Canal recently, you might have noticed this plant floating on the surface.  Cooler autumn temperatures, north moving winds and lock openings are helping to move it out.  With the waterway scheduled to reopen by late October 2017, boaters are looking forward to navigating this beautiful waterway very soon!

Please continue to check our website and Facebook pages for updated Dismal Swamp Canal information.

Photograph:  Donna Smith Rose