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Natural Connections

Jun 30, 2022

“Can’t you smell that?” asked Cade from the bow of the canoe. A warm breeze tickled the back of my neck and blew any odors away from me. He’d brought up a small piece of an aquatic plant with a similar structure to the bladderwort leaves I’ve examined recently. The central, green stem bore whorls of thin leaves.

As Cade placed the curiosity on the blade of my canoe paddle, the breeze swirled, and I caught more than a whiff of sulfur. “It’s chara!” he declared.

Also known as muskgrass or skunkweed due to its strong odor, chara is a type of algae that grows in clean, hard water with a high pH and lots of minerals.