Whether you have potted plants in your home or you love going for a walk around the neighborhood to take in the vegetation, we all enjoy nature in our own way. Indianapolis is home to a variety of plants, and much of that plantlife is native to the Geist Reservoir. This public, human-made lake has always been perfect for boating or simply taking in the view. Learn more about the exuberant plant life you’ll find at our local reservoir. 

First Things First: Invasive Plant Species

Invasive species are organisms that spread into an environment, harming the ecosystem or human health. Untreated invasive species can have enormous consequences on the environment and the economy. They can clog up water facilities, damage crops, bring disease to native organisms, and pose threats to fish and other wildlife. 

At Geist Reservoir, there are a few invasive species to be aware of: Eurasian watermilfoil, curlyleaf pondweed, and brittle naiad. All three of these plants are submerged and create a nuisance for native species. Fortunately, the latter two species are only seasonal and rarely create problems throughout the year. 

It’s Not All Invasive—Look for These Native Plants! 

For every invasive species in Geist Reservoir, there are at least four native plants that give life to the lake. Many of these plants bring several benefits to the environment, helping to prevent shoreline erosion and creating habitats for wildlife. Allow us to introduce you to some of Geist’s plantlife: 

Common Coontail: This dense plant often acts as a cover for fish. While common coontail can make swimming and recreation more complex, it’s a vital part of the lake’s ecosystem.  

Sago Pondweed: This type of pondweed is an excellent source of nutrition for waterfowl and, like common coontail, makes a great fish cover. 

Small & Leafy Pondweed: Pondweeds are common submerged plants in the main lake areas. They have shorter leaves than sago pondweed but are a great food source for waterfowl. 

Water Stargrass: You’ll find this broad-leafed plant along the upper end of Geist. Water stargrass grows in dense beds and can be a challenge to control. 

Common & Southern Naiad: In Geist’s shallow areas, you may find common naiad. This plant provides good fish cover but can become overgrown in late summer. 

American Pondweed: Unlike other types of pondweed, American pondweed rarely becomes a nuisance. It grows in shallow areas and makes an excellent fish cover. 

American Lotus: During the summer, you might see these yellow blooms along the surface of Geist. 

White Water Lily: Similar to (but not as common as) the American lotus, white water lilies appear in large beds at the upper end of the reservoir. 

Spatterdock: This plant emerges early in the spring and provides fish with a fantastic spawning habitat. You can find spatterdock mainly in the upper end of the lake, but you might find patches further down if you’re lucky! 

Water Willow: You’ll find water willows sprouting along the lake’s margins. They bloom in the summer and help reduce erosion and sedimentation along the shoreline.

Common Duckweed: This tiny plant grows in nutrient-rich, shallow areas of Geist. While common duckweed is extremely small, you might find some floating in the upper end.

Creeping Water Primrose: Like water willow, you’ll find this plant along the margins of the lake. Creeping water primrose tends to flower in the late summer in the shallow parts of the lake. 

Explore Geist Today! 

With so many beautiful plant species, there’s always something to discover at Geist Reservoir! The lake is open to public exploration, so why not make an afternoon of it? Visit Geist today and see all the gorgeous plant life that’s blooming in and around the lake.