Chara is typically found growing in clear, hard water lacking true stems and leaves. Chara is actually a form of algae. Its stems are hollow with leaf-like structures in a whorled pattern.

It may be found growing with tiny, orange fruiting bodies on the branches called akinetes. Thick masses of Chara can form in some areas.

Often confused with Coontail or Milfoils, it can be identified by a gritty texture and musky odor when crushed between the fingers.

The gritty texture is caused by calcium deposits on the surface of the stems and branches.