Excerpts from AQUAPHYTE ONLINE Summer 2001

It's Been Happening for Quite A While: Their Plants Invade Here; Our Plants Invade There

"One of the major problems in the fight against harmful aquatic plants in Africa, as in other parts of the world, is that infestations of particular species have often spread alarmingly before their danger is realized. This may be because the botanical identity of the plant is not known early enough, or alternatively, because it is not recognized that the plant constitutes a potential danger as a harmful plant." (H. Wild, Scientific Council for Africa South of the Sahara, Project No. 14, 1961.)

The problems of invasive non-native plants have been recognized and studied around the world for quite some time--the Spartina invasion of England and France in the late 1800s; the Salvinia invasion of Ceylon in the 1940s; the current Lantana invasion of South Africa. And for more than 100 years, an official war has been waged against water hyacinth ( Eichhornia crassipes ) in the U.S., recently resulting in "maintenance control" of this plant in the U.S. Now, by Presidential decree and federal law, the water hyacinth war has been expanded to include hundreds of invasive non-native plants, aquatic and terrestrial, which are invading the wildlands and waters of America.

To gain perspective on invasive plant problems and their solutions, wouldn't it behoove us to learn of the experiences of others, past and present, successes and failures, aquatic and terrestrial, in the U.S. and elsewhere? That's why the APIRS plant literature database was created: to gather from myriad scientific sources the insights and answers gleaned by invasive plant researchers around the world. Invasive plant research published in several hundred journals and books is included in this database of more than 65,000 items.

While there are many fine new books being published about invasive non-native plants the information in these books generally is extracted from the research (http://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/books.html). The following publications represent a fraction of the thousands of research items in the APIRS collection that are specifically about plant invasions, ecology and biology. Although the APIRS collection originally was devoted to aquatic plants, we are now tracking the literature of all invasive plants as well, aquatic, wetland and terrestrial. The following titles merely suggest the variety of invasive plant problems and management projects around the world. You are welcome to query the online database http://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/APIRS or have us do it for you to obtain citation bibliographies on any invasive plants in the world (write to: CAIP-website@ufl.edu).

Here's a sampling of references :

Australia's prohibited plant list includes some plants that are beneficial natives in the U.S . (i.e., Cabomba caroliniana, Hydrocotyle ranunculoides, Ceratophyllum demersum, and Sagittaria graminea;

Some plants prohibited in the U.S. are beneficial natives in Australia, plants such as Melaleuca quinquenervia.) Animal Plant Control Commission, South Australia. 1994. Prohibited Aquarium and Pond Plants. Proclaimed Plant Notes, APCC-5/Aquatic/Ver2/July121994.

Leersia hexandra , a bird food native in the U.S., is unwanted in Malaysia -- Baki, B.B. 2000. Biological invasions of noxious weeds in a man-made reservoir. A case study of Timah Tasuh, Perlis, Malaysia. Abstracts, Third Internat'l. Weed Science Congress, A. Legere (ed.), Foz do Iguassu, Brazil, June 6-11; pp. 5-6.

Native Plants in North America, Invasive in South America -- Bentivegna, D.J., O.A. Fernandez, M.A. Burgos, M.R. Sabbatini Cerzos. 2000. Growth of Potamogeton pectinatus L. in the irrigation system of the Rio Colorado, Argentina. In: Abstracts, Third Internat'l. Weed Sci. Congress, A. Legere, (ed.), Foz do Iguassu, Brazil, pp. 219-220.

Global policy changes needed to stop biological invasions caused by international trade Jenkins, P.T. 2000. Third Internat'l. Weed Sci. Congress, A. Legere, (ed.), Foz do Iguassu, Brazil, p. 214.

Lythrum salicaria is also attacking South Africa -- Blossey, B., J. Kamil. 1996. What determines the increased competitive ability of invasive non-indigenous plants? In: Proceedings of the IX Internat'l. Symp. on Biological Control of Weeds, pp. 3-9. V.C. Moran and J.H. Hoffmann (eds.). 19-26 January 1996, Stellenbosch, South Africa. University of Cape Town.

Some invasive plants in California, such as Spartina alterniflora and Spartina patens, are desirable natives in the eastern U.S Bossard, C.C., J.M. Randall, M.C. Hoshovsky, eds . 2000. Invasive Plants of California's Wildlands. University of California Press, Berkeley. 360 pp.

Invasive Plants ( Ceratophyllum demersum) shut down the Ohakuri power plant in 1965; However, it is a desirable native in the southeastern U.S Chapman, V.J., J.M.A. Brown, C.F. Hill, J.L. Carr. 1974. Biology of excessive weed growth in the hydro-electric lakes of the Waikato River, New Zealand. Hydrobiologia 44(4):349- 363.

Biological control and management of invasive plants in Australia including Salvinia molesta, Rumex crispus, Hypericum perforatum, and Senecio jacobaea Del Fosse, E.S. (ed.) 1980. Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium on Biological Control of Weeds. 22-29 July 1980. Brisbane, Australia.

Deloach, C.J. 1991. Past successes and current prospects in biological control of weeds in the United States and Canada. Natural Areas J. 11(3):129-142.

Duncan, K.W. 1997. A case study in Tamarix ramosissima control: Spring Lake, New Mexico. In: Plant Invasions: Studies from North America and Europe, J.H. Brock, M. Wade, P. Pysek and D. Green, (eds.), Backhuys Publ., Leiden, pp. 115-121.

One of the first "seers" in the field -- Elton, C.S . 1958/2000. The Ecology of Invasions by Animals and Plants. University of Chicago Press. 181 pp.

Paspalum distichum , a beneficial knotgrass native to the U.S., is unwanted in Portugal Ferreira, M.T., I.S. Moreira . 1995. The invasive component of a river flora under the influence of Mediterranean agricultural systems. In: Plant Invasions - General Aspects and Special Problems, pp. 117-127. P. Pysek, K. Prach, M. Rejmanek and M. Wade (eds). SPB Academic Publishing, Amsterdam.

Gopal, B. 1987. Water hyacinth. Aquatic Plant Studies 1. Elsevier Sci. Publ., Amsterdam. 471 pp. (A monograph.)

Unwanted in Australia : Sagittaria graminea, Cabomba caroliniana, Eichhornia crassipes, Hydrilla verticillata, Lantana camara, Myriophyllum aquaticum and M. spicatum Groves, R.H. 1986. Plant invasions of Australia: An overview. In: Ecology of Biological Invasions, R.H. Groves and J.J. Burdon (eds.). Cambridge University Press, London, pp. 137- 149.

A North American species in a Japanese lake -- Hamabata, E . 1997. Distribution, stand structure and yearly biomass fluctuation of Elodea nuttallii , an alien species in Lake Biwa. Japan. Journal of Limnology. 58(2):173-190.

Salvinia has been an invader for years -- Hatting, E.R. 1961. Problem of Salvinia auriculata Aubl. and associated aquatic weeds on Kariba Lake. Weed Research 1(4):303-306.

Three plants are blacklisted both in Florida and in South Africa.: Lantana camara, Melia azederach and Lonicera japonica -- Henderson, L. 1999. The Southern African Plant Invaders Atlas (SAPIA) and its contribution to biological control. African Entomol. Memoir 1:159-163


Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants, UF/IFASFlorida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commision

A collaboration of the UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants
and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission / Invasive Plant Management Section