Salvinia molesta - Visit ITIS for full scientific classification.
- Floating mats, no flowers (fern), leaf tops fuzzy with tiny, egg-beater shaped hairs.
- In open water, leaves are oval, flat, 1/3" to 1/2"wide.
- When in dense mats, leaves are 2-lobed, folded, crowded and are 1" to 2 1/2" wide if unfolded to examine.
- Still or slow-moving, warm, freshwater habitats with high nutrient levels.
- Tolerates low salinity and occasional frost.
Invasion Pathways and Distribution
- Introduced from tropical South America.
- Found worldwide in tropical areas.
- Can be used to remove excess nutrients and other pollution from water and, when dried, as mulch.
- It is spread by wind, water motion, floods, boating, fishing and discarding plants from ponds and aquariums into waterways.
- In California it occurs along the Colorado River, in canals in Riverside and Imperial Counties, and in San Luis Obispo County.
- This aquatic fern rarely produces spores.
- Instead, it breaks into pieces of stem that spread vegetatively.
- It can double its biomass in 2-3 days when conditions are right.
- Dense mats up to 20" thick cover open water, outcompete native plants and animals, increase stagnation and risks of flooding, reduce water quality, and interfere with navigation and recreation.
References and Useful Links
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