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any of several cosmopolitan freshwater plants sometimes grown in ponds or aquariums. They belong to two families: the Potamogetonaceae (pondwood family) and the Aponogetonaceae (lattice plant family), both of which have species that develop submerged or floating leaves but frequently have emergent flowering shoots. The former group includes frog's lettuce (Potamogeton densus), of Europe and southern Asia, and P. crispus, of Europe but naturalized in the eastern United States and in California. Cape pondweed (Aponogeton distachyus), of the family Aponogetonaceae, has several varieties grown for ornament in pools or greenhouses. Many species of these families serve as food for waterfowl and as cover for fishes