4. Vallisneria Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 1015. 1753; Gen. Pl. ed. 5; 446, 1754.
Wild-celery [for Antonio Vallisneri, Italian botanist, 1661--1730]
Plants perennial, of fresh or brackish waters. Rhizomes and stolons present. Erect stems rooted in substrate, unbranched, short. Leaves basal, submersed, sessile; blade linear, base grading into sheath, apex obtuse to apiculate; midvein with 4--5 rows of lacunae on each side, balde appearing 3-zoned with light-colored middle zone bordered on each side by darker zone; abaxial surfacely without prickles or aerenchyma; intravaginal squamules entire. Inflorescences cymose, long-pedunculate; spathe not winged. Flowers unisexual, staminate and pistillate on different plants, submersed or floating, sessile (staminate) or pedicellate (pistillate); petals transparent. Staminate flowers: filaments distinct, released from spathe and floating to surface; anthers spheric; pollen in monads. Pistillate flowers floating; ovary 1-locular; styles 1, not 2-fid. Fruits cylindric to ellipsoid, ridged, dehiscing irregularly. Seeds ellipsoid, glabrous.
Species 26 (1 in the flora): North America, South America, Eurasia, Africa, Australia.
Vallisneria is generally considered to have 1-flowered pistillate inflorescences. A few populations in southern United States and Central America, however, have cymes with up to 30 flowers. The United States populations include those in Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi.
Fernald, M. L. 1918. The diagnostic character of Vallisneria americana. Rhodora 20: 108--110. Lowden, R. M. 1982. An approach to the taxonomy of Vallisneria L. (Hydrocharitaceae). Aquatic Bot. 13: 269--298. Marie-Victorin, Frère. 1943. Les Vallisnéries Américaines. Contr. Inst. Bot. Univ. Montréal 46: 1--38.