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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Paddle Weed Halophilia Ovalis

Members of the genus Halophila look quite unlike other seagrasses, having small, oval leaves that are borne on a thin leaf stalk. As its scientific name indicates, paddle weed is particularly tolerant of high salinities (halophila means “salt-loving”). Pollination takes place underwater, and the tiny, oval pollen grains are released in chains, which assemble into rafts like floating feathers. This is thought to increase the chances of pollination of a female flower. Despite its small size, paddle weed is an important food for the dugong. An adult can eat more than 90 lb (40 kg) of it in a day.

Paddle Weed habitat mapzoom image
  • Order Hydrocharitales
  • Type Perennial
  • Height 2 in (6 cm)
  • Habitat Sand
  • Distribution Coasts of Florida, East Africa, Southeast Asia, Australia, and Pacific islands