Zosteraceae of Maine
(Kingdom Plantae, Monocots)

(updated 12 January 2020)

Zosteraceae - eelgrass family

Maine is home to 1 species in 1 genus. Click on a link below or scroll down for more information.

   Zostera (1 species)
      Zostera marina - eelgrass

Zostera (eelgrass)

Zostera marina (eelgrass) is the only truly marine tracheophyte along the coast of Maine. Some species of plants grow in saltmarshes, and others on the coast are partially or sometimes completely submerged at high tide, but only Zostera marina lives in the ocean. It can be seen in Ship Harbor on the west side of Mount Desert Island and in the cove at Otter Creek on the east side of the island.

(photo by Jane Disney; click on image to enlarge)

   An eelgrass restoration project is underway at Hadley Point. Above is an underwater photo of eelgrass growing there, and below is a photo of eelgrass growing on a grid weighted down by bricks. Dr. Jane Disney of Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory explains (6 April 2010): “That is how we are re-planting eelgrass. We tie plants on the wire grids, place them on the ocean floor, and wait a year until the plants take root. Three summers of restoration and conservation efforts by a collection of community partners has resulted in an increase in this subtidal angiosperm, from less than 1% coverage in 2007 to just over 8% coverage in 2009. Historically, this area was 80% covered with eelgrass. It is a slow road to recovery, but a possible road.”

(photo by Jane Disney; click on image to enlarge)

   1. Taxonomy and nomenclature follow Flora Novae Angliae by Arthur Haines (2011, Yale University Press, ISBN 978-0-300-17154-9).