Trapa natans is an aquatic annual that grows as a rooted, floating plant. Its floating leaves are arranged in a rosette. Individually, the 2-4 cm (0.75-1.5 in.) long upper leaves are slightly rhombic to rhombic-ovate and are sharply dentate along the leaf margins. There are conspicuous veins on the lower surface as well as short, stiff hairs. The submerged lower leaves are alternate and feather-like and can reach up to 15 cm (6 in.) long. The petioles of the floating leaves are 0.6-1.8 m (2-6 ft.) long. The inconspicuous white flowers consist of four 8 mm (0.3 in.) long, white petals and four green sepals, and are located in the center of the rosette. Flowering begins in July and continues until the plants are killed by frost. The fruit is a four-horned nut-like structure about 3 cm (1.2 in.) wide that develops underwater. Fruits ripen in about a month and can remain viable for up to about twelve years.