Family: Hydrocharitaceae (Tape-Grass Family)
Duration and Habit: Perennial Herb
Hydrilla verticillata is a member of the Hydrocharitaceae family. It closely resembles other members of this family such as Elodea canadensis and Egeria densa. Several members of this family are popular with the aquarium and nursery industry because they are hardy, tolerant plants. Consequently, some have become severe pest problems where introduced to waters outside their native range.
Ecological Threat: Dense underwater stands of hydrilla raise water pH and temperature, and lower dissolved oxygen. While the number of fish is often increased, large fish become more rare. Promotes mosquito habitat. Potentially affects power generation by clogging dams
Biology & Spread: Commonly reproduces from fragmented stems which readily regrow, forming new clones of the original plant. New shoots also bud from leaf axils (where petioles attach to the stem) as well as from subterranean tubers. Hydrilla can grow up to 1 inch in a day and stems can reach 30 feet in length. Stems grow until they reach the water surface, filling the entire water column.
History: Hydrilla was first introduced into North America in the mid to late fifties by the aquarium trade. California officials have also traced hydrilla infestations to shipments of mail order waterlilies. Once introduced and established, hydrilla is easily spread through boating and fishing activities and by waterfowl. Hydrilla tubers are readily consumed and regurgitated tubers have been shown to be viable.
U.S. Habitat: Hydrilla is a submersed, freshwater perennial herb, generally rooted on the bottom in depths of greater to 20 feet where water clarity is good. It is found in lakes, rivers, reservoirs, ponds, and ditches. It tends to form monospecific stands that can cover hundreds of acres.
U.S. Nativity: Introduced to U.S.
Native Origin: Europe; Old World (Bailey, L.H. and E.Z. Bailey, Hortus Third: A Concise Dictionary of Plants Cultivated in the United States and Canada, MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc., New York , (1977).); NatureServe Explorer
U.S. Present: AL, AZ, CA, CT, DE, FL, GA, LA, MD, MS, NC, SC, TN, TX, VA, WA
Distribution: Hydrilla is native to parts of Asia, Africa, and Australia. A female dioecious plant was introduced into Florida in the mid-to-late 1950s and dioecious hydrilla has since spread throughout the southeastern states including Georgia, Alabama, Virginia, and South Carolina. Hydrilla is found as far west as Texas and California. Monoecious hydrilla is found in lakes in North Carolina and the Potomac River near Washington D.C. and also has been reported in Maryland and Delaware.
List All Observations of Hydrilla verticillata reported by Citizen Scientists
Scientific research and 30 years of practical experience by aquatic plant managers using herbicides, biological agents, mechanical removal, and physical habitat manipulation have produced relatively successful management programs in Florida and other states. However, in spite of long-term intensive management efforts, hydrilla is still a major weed problem in the states where it has become well established.USE PESTICIDES WISELY: ALWAYS READ THE ENTIRE PESTICIDE LABEL CAREFULLY, FOLLOW ALL MIXING AND APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS AND WEAR ALL RECOMMENDED PERSONAL PROTECTIVE GEAR AND CLOTHING. CONTACT YOUR STATE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FOR ANY ADDITIONAL PESTICIDE USE REQUIREMENTS, RESTRICTIONS OR RECOMMENDATIONS. MENTION OF PESTICIDE PRODUCTS ON THIS WEB SITE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE ENDORSEMENT OF ANY MATERIAL.
The Quiet Invasion: A Guide to Invasive Plants of the Galveston Bay Area. Lisa Gonzalez and Jeff DallaRosa. Houston Advanced Research Center, 2006.
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