THE CRIMES: Forms dense beds that interfere with the use of lakes and rivers. Crowds out native plant and animal species. Lowers water quality and clogs water pipes.
DESCRIPTION: Long-stemmed plant with densely packed leaves. Can reach lengths of six feet and live rooted or free floating as deep as 20 feet underwater. Produces small white flowers with three petals that emerge above the water. Also known as Brazilian waterweed; in the aquarium industry it sometimes goes by the alias "Anacharis."
Where are you from?
I came from South America, specifically Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina.
How did you get here?
I was brought here because I'm very good at turning carbon dioxide into oxygen. That makes me a great plant to put in aquariums--I help keep the fish alive! But, when people aren't careful where they dump out their aquarium water, I make my escape into ponds and lakes--adeus, amigos!
Whats your problem?
My alias is "waterweed" because I grow in very dense beds on the bottoms of lakes and rivers, pretty much taking over. I can spread 100 acres every year--talk about "el grande!" I make it my business to take up so much space and grow so thickly that it's hard for water to move, which lowers water quality. I push out the other plants and animals that live in the water and I clog up water intake pipes. With me hanging around, people get angry--it's hard to row a boat through me, and you can forget about swimming, fishing or water skiing!
How can we control you?
People have tried chopping me up, but that doesn't work- pieces of me can grow into whole new plants. I actually spread faster! Thank you very much! Obrigado muito muito! On the other hand, herbicides can slow me down. Sometimes humans have covered me with fabric to keep any light away from me. I can't live without light! In small ponds you can also get rid of me by draining most of the water out, but you might kill other plants and animals you want to live. Grass carp really like to eat me, but if you aren't careful the fish will eat up all the other plants in the water too.
Reward: The honor of protecting our water resources A healthier environment and more opportunities to enjoy our natural areas.