E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Potamogeton alpinus Balbis
northern pondweed (alpine pondweed)
Potamogetonaceae (Horned pondweed family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #7501)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Potamogeton alpinus
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Species Information

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Perennial, aquatic herb from strong rhizomes; stems mostly unbranched or sparingly branched, with a reddish tinge, nearly circular in cross-section, tapered, up to 200 cm long.
Submersed leaves flat, thin, linear-lanceolate, 4-10 cm long, 5-20 mm wide, with 7 to 9 veins, unstalked, not clasping the stem, the stipules 1.5-2.5 cm long, thin, membranous, persistent; floating leaves, if developed, lanceolate, 3-8 cm long, 2-5 cm wide, gradually tapered into stalks.
Inflorescence spikelike, the spikes 1-3.5 mm long, with 5 to 10 whorls of flowers, the stalks thick.
Achenes, egg-shaped, 3-3.5 mm long, 2-2.4 mm wide, slightly compressed at their sides, the beaks long, often curved, the dorsal keels narrow, prominent, the lateral keels obscure.
Stem anatomical characters Interlacunar and subepidermal bundles lacking, pseudohypodermis lacking, endodermis of O-cells.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Nutrient-poor lakes and sloughs in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; frequent throughout BC; circumpolar, N to AK, YT, NT, E to NF and S to ME, NH, NY, MI, WI, MN, SD, CO, UT, NV and CA; Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Potamogeton alpinus

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 700 1155 1440
Slope Gradient (%) 0 0 1
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
270 270 270
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
4 6 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BWBS(1), MS(1), SBPS(1)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Potamogeton alpinus subsp. tenuifolius (Raf.) Hultén
Potamogeton alpinus var. subellipticus (Fernald) Ogden
Potamogeton alpinus var. tenuifolius (Raf.) Ogden
Potamogeton tenuifolius

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References