Eelgrass

Zostera

APPEARANCE

Eelgrass is actually a flowering plant, not an eel OR grass. Eel grass has dark green leaves that are 2-12mm wise and up to 100 cm long!

RANGE & HABITAT

Eelgrass grows in salt water, usually below the love tide line. You might also find eelgrass in estuaries. Eelgrass likes clear water so that it can photosynthesize well!

LIFECYCLE

Eeelgrass is a flowering plant. Once the flower blooms, seeds are spread by ocean currents. Eventually, they sink to the ocean floor and germinate.

ANIMAL USES

Eelgrass beds are a habitat for many different plants and animals, including small invertebrates, fish and birds. Eelgrass provides important shelter for young salmon when they arrive at salty water for the first time.

TRADITIONAL USES BY INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

Some coastal First Nations eat the rhizomes (underground roots/stems) fresh or dried. The leaves can also be used to weave baskets!

OTHER USES

Eelgrass is great for boosting soil health because it is so full of nutrients!

STATUS

Eelgrass feels human impacts from dredging, logging and construction. If you see an Eelgrass be out on a walk, take care to not trample this plant.

COSEWIC: Not at Risk

CDC: Yellow

PHOTO: NOAA