Eel Grass

Asia, Australia

General description

Bottom-rooted freshwater aquatic. Leaves are strap-like, < 550 x 5 cm and submerged. Male flowers are large, pollen-filled sacs produced at the base of the plant. Female flowers are small, green and produced at the end of a very long, spirally coiled stalk that can extend to the water’s surface.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell eel grass. As eel grass is a National Pest Plant Accord species, these restrictions apply within the Auckland region and across the whole of New Zealand.
  • You must not plant eel grass within the Auckland region.
  • You must destroy any eel grass on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.
If you see eel grass anywhere on Aotea/Great Barrier Island group, please report it to Auckland Council at

Static to moderately fast-moving water bodies < 10 m deep.

Vegetative spread from rhizome fragments. Human-mediated dispersal.

Forms dense stands which may displace native submerged vegetation. May impede drainage, exacerbate flooding, and impede recreational water uses. Can cause drowning through entanglement.

Site Management

Very difficult to control once established.

Recommended approaches

Do not attempt to undertake control of this species on Aotea/Great Barrier Island group. Please report to Auckland Council if seen on Aotea/Great Barrier Island group.

Physical control

Method: Pull out

Plant parts requiring disposal: All parts

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill if practical


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

CAUTION: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

Sagittaria platyphylla

Sagittaria's submerged leaves look similar to eelgrass. Has erect leaves and flowers that are absent in eelgrass.

eel grass - Meola Creek variety
Vallisneria spiralis

V. gigantea is a larger plant than V.spiralis. V. spiralis flower stalk is twisted in a spiral.

Search tags

RPMP status

Aotea (Exclusion)
Whole region (Sustained Control)
National Pest Plant Accord Species
Eel grass - Main species image