Alligator weed has reddish, hollow, buoyant stems with opposite leaves. The white flower closely resembles a clover flower.
The presence of alligator weed disrupts the natural flow of water due to the dense mats created from its clusters of stems. It out competes the native vegetation for space and solar energy through these dense mats because they are large cluster and limit the amount of light that submerged vegetation receives.
Alligator weed is found in soils with low humus and high moisture. It can be a sign of poor soil structure, where water and air cannot move freely in the soil.