Turtle grass is quite common in the shallow, sandy areas just offshore. As its name suggests, turtles graze on Thalassia and can crop it quite close, sort of like goats grazing a field of grass (the local Exxon company actually uses goats to "mow" their grass). These fields (we call them beds for some reason) of grass are also habitats for young fish and invertebrates and so are considered nursery grounds for the reef and offshore fishery. The blades of Thalassia are long and strap-like, about 1 cm wide, and can grow rapidly in length. These plants are Angiosperms, or true flowering plants. This is in contrast to the other species on the reef plants page which are far more simple organisms. In addition to flowers, Thalassia (as well as our other common Angiosperm Syringodium or Manatee Grass) has true roots and a vascular system for conducting fluids and metabolic signals such as hormones around its body. The roots of Thalassia grow quite dense with the 0.5 cm thick individual roots matted together to the nearly complete exclusion of the sand!