- History and Culture
Halophila ovalis, commonly known as Spoon seagrass, Paddle weed, or Fan seagrass is from the family of Hydrocharitaceae. It has oval shaped or spoon shaped leaves of a wide range of sizes. The leaf edges are smooth. There is a vein within the leaf margin and 8 or more cross veins. The leaf is found at the end of a slender stalk. It’s smooth white rhizomes (underground stems), are about 2mm in diameter.
Male and female plants are separate, that is, the species is dioecious. It produces round and extremely small fruit.
Halophila ovalis is widely present across the Indo-Pacific. It has also been discovered in the Atlantic Ocean, near the island of Antigua as well as in parts of temperate waters near Australia.
This species can tolerate influxes of fresh water. It is consumed by dugongs and snails.
This species is listed under the ‘Least Concern’ category of the IUCN Red list. It is widespread and recovers rapidly. Population trends are stable or increasing in most areas. The major threats are related to anthropogenic activities.
This species is one of the preferred seagrasses consumed by Dugongs, therefore it is also referred as Dugong grass. It recovers rapidly post grazing by Dugongs.