We are carrying out some experiments where we study influence of underwater vegetation on waves. Unfortunately, the stalks of artificial 'vegetation' which we have seem to be too dense (or too stiff). The stalks sort of stand up a bit when you put them in water but they do not stand upright and all stay partly bent over.

This might be OK depending on whether there are any natural forms of aquatic vegetation which are sort of 'bent over' due to their weight under the water and which do not 'stand upright'? Is there any natural vegetation which does this?

  • $\begingroup$ Can you post a picture of how they are bent over? - many aquatic plants such as lagarosiphon will bend over near the surface. Are you thinking fresh or salt water? $\endgroup$
    – bob1
    Sep 5, 2021 at 21:02
  • $\begingroup$ Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking. $\endgroup$
    – Community Bot
    Sep 5, 2021 at 21:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Biology.SE. Please clarify and focus your question. In particular, your title and body seem to be requesting the different information. Do you want examples of aquatic plants that are highly flexible or are you asking for plants that behave similarly to your artificial model. In either case specifying the type of environment (eg.s: marine vs. fresh, tropical vs. temperate vs. polar) ——— To me it seems like you should start with a survey of what plant(s) are most relevant to your research and then characterize their behavior rather than trying to find plants that fit your model. $\endgroup$
    – tyersome
    Sep 5, 2021 at 22:00
  • $\begingroup$ If by aquatic vegetation you mean things that grow in deep water (as oppose to shore or marsh plants), I think pretty much all of them do, unless they grow as a carpet on rocks &c. Consider kelp as a stereotypical example: why should it develop stiff stalks (which might break in strong waves) when flexible stalks and air bladders work better? If you want something artifical to mimic typical seaweeds, try water ski rope. (The kind that floats - polypropylene?) $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Sep 5, 2021 at 23:02
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    $\begingroup$ double posted here pets.stackexchange.com/questions/32859/… $\endgroup$ Sep 6, 2021 at 7:16

1 Answer 1


Yes there are many aquatic plant species which do not stand up in water. You need to look at the lifeform of the plants, such as introduced by Raunkiaer ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raunki%C3%A6r_plant_life-form ) and later work by Ellenberg & Mueller-Dombois (1967).

In fact, you're mixing up two different lifeforms :

  • true aquatic plants are unable to "stand up" : they are waterborne so they "bend over" depending of the water currents. You'll find rooted aquatic plants as well as rootless ones which float free above or within the water column.


  • helophytes is the name of plants which stand in water (usually have their roots and the basis of their stalk within water) but are erected and have aerial part standing up outside the water

European examples of helophytes are : Sparganium, Typha, ALISMATACEAE, many JUNCACEAE and CYPERACEAE, some POAECEAE (Phragmites, Glyceria, and a long etc.), and many other plants in many families.

For european France, Philippe Julve gives a comprehensive list of all plant species with mention of their life form, so you can look up species which correspond lifeform of your interest. Look here for the "CATMINAT" folder and then baseflor.xlsx and look in the first tab the column R "Type_biologique" (which means life form).

You will want to look the meanings of the abbreviations in the "Légende" tab of the sheet, column G. Julve consider true water plants as a sub-category of other main life form, so you'll want to search for "something-aqua".

Since you're interested in aquatic vegetation, you may want to look at some phytosociological catalogue like E-VEG (on the left side you can browse the tree to section "1 Marine waters" and "3 Freshwater aquatic vegetation". Clic on one sub-category (latin names of vegetation units) will open the corresponding record in the main frame where you'll find indication to some litterature. But it may be of more interest for you to browse some academic catalogue for the latin name of the higher vegetation units + name of your area of interest. For instance you may want to look for Stuckenietea pectinati + Europe.

Be aware that E-VEG choose to follow botanical nomenclature (so when the main species after which the vegetation unit is named change its name, then the vegetation unit's name change as well, so when Potamogeton pectinatus became Stuckenia pectinata then the Potamogetonetea pectinati became the Stuckenietea pectinati). But many other phytosociological catalogues choosed to conserve the vegetation unit's names stable regardless of plant name's changes. So you may prefer to look for Potamogetonetea pectinati + South-East Asia (if that's your area of interest).

If E-VEG don't suit your needs, you may want to take a look at other catalogues referenced here.


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