Aquatic Plants (Flora)

The world is a much more interesting place when you are surrounded by friends rather than strangers. Nature is the same way. It is much more interesting to know the plants that surround us, they become old recognizable friends.

Plant diversity in Grays Lake is ranked as average by the Lakes Management Unit of the Lake County Health Department. Twelve aquatic plant species were identifed in this study. However, plant density is rates as very good. Aquatic plants were found at depths up to 13 feet in 2002. Areas shallower than 13 feet contained about 50-60% plant coverage the same year. The benefits of diverse and dense plant growth in the lake are clear, literally clear. As shown on the Water Quality page, water clarity has improved significantly through the years with proper lake management. Plants stabilize the lake's sediments the same way plants on land prevent erosion. And in the same way plants on land provide wildlife habitat; turtles, muskrats, and fish all benefit from aquatic plants.

Spatterdock (also called pond lily or cow lily) is located in several locations on the lake. This is a native plant that comes back year after year. The picture below is from the northwest end of the lake.

August 2009.

There are many Spatterdock colonies in the lake. This photo is from the southeast end of the lake. Spatterdock Bed, August 2009

Illinois Pond Weed, August 2005.

Illinois Pond Weed submerged, August 2009. On Memorial Day 2010 this plant could be seen with the reddish/brown tip of its stem just slightly above the surface. It is well established offshore along the lake's north side and east end.

Pickerel Weed at southeast end of lake, August 2009.

Pickerel Weed on east side of northeast channel of Jones Island, August 2009.

Pickerel Weed bed at southeast end of lake, August 2009.

Sago Pondweed collected August 30, 2009 near George Street.

Submerged Sago Pondweed

Water Star Grass, southeast end of lake, August 2009.

Submerged Water Star Grass, August 2009.

Hardstem Bullrush near Burton Street, August 2009.

Hardstem Bullrush bed near Burton Street, August 2009.

Slender Naiad near southeast end of lake, August 2009.

Slender Naiad bed submerged near southeast end of lake, August 2009

Good old Cattails near southeast end of lake, August 2009.

Floating algal mass in north channel, early May 2010.

Pond Plant H

A 1989 assessment of the lake's aquatic plants (also called macrophytes) revealed two dominant species, both invasive: curly-leaf (until mid June) and water milfoil (through early fall).