Eel Grass
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Eel Grass
P Native Photo: Sushant More
Common name: Eel Grass, Tapegrass, Eel weed • Hindi: Jallil, Sawala, sewal, स्याला Syala • Kannada: hasururibbongida, kudarebaladagida • Manipuri: ꯏꯁꯤꯡ ꯌꯦꯟꯁꯨꯝ Ising yensum • Marathi: phiti-chesaivale, seval • Tamil: calanili, jalanili, valukkuppaci • Telugu: panchadub, punatsu
Botanical name: Vallisneria spiralis    Family: Hydrocharitaceae (Tape Grass family)
Synonyms: Vallisneria numidica, Vallisneria aethiopica, Vallisneria pusilla

Eel Grass is a stem-like submerged herb with coarse, up to 10 cm long, round runners. Leaves arise from root, linear-oblong, ribbon-shaped, upto 50 cm long, 1-1.5 cm broad, faintly 7-9-costate, costae parallel. intercostals present, longitudinally brown-black striped, margins faintly finely toothed to entire, blunt. Male spathes oblong, about 6 mm long, flower-cluster-stalks 2-3 cm long. Male flowers flower-stalklate, about 0.5 mm across; sepals unequal, recurved; stamen solitary by fusion or 2, erect. Female spathe 1-2 cm long, enveloping the ovary to more than half its length, bilobed at tip, flower-cluster-stalk thread-like, longer to nearly as long as leaves, spirally coiled in fruit. Female flower: solitary; sepals ovate-oblong. 1.5-4 mm long, about 1-2 mm broad, blunt, persistent; ovary 1.5-2.5 cm long, styles 3. bifid, alternating with the scarious rudimentary petals, stigmas hairy. Fruit is up to 20 cm long, greenish-yellow, many-seeded. Seeds are spindle-shaped to cylindrical, 1.5-3 mm long. Eel Grass is found in South Europe, West Asia to Indo-Pakistan subcontinent. It is commonly grown in aquariums. Flowering: October-March.

Identification credit: Sushant More Photographed in Nashik, Maharashtra & Kaithal, Haryana.

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