|| USDA PLANTS SYMBOL: SAMO5
|Salvinia molesta D. S. Mitchell
|Synonym(s): kariba weed, salvinia, water fern, aquarium watermoss
- Salvinia molesta is an aquatic fern that floats on the surface of the water. Submerged fronds are “stringy” and resemble roots.
- Floating leaves are 0.5-1.5 in. (2.5-3.8 cm) long, oblong, and vary in color from green to gold to brown. The surfaces of the leaves have rows of arching hairs that look like little egg-beaters. When young, leaves are smaller and lie flat on the surface of the water.
- This plant does not produce flowers.
- S. molesta reproduce by spores and by budding of broken stems or attached nodes.
- Ecological Threat
- After maturing, S. molesta forms chains of leaves that run together to form thick mats on the surface of the water. These mats restrict oxygen and light availability causing death of the primary producers and disrupting the aquatic food chain. S. molesta is on the Federal Noxious Weed list and can invade most any type of aquatic system. The plant is native to South America and was first introduced into North America as an ornamental.