Florida’s Most Invasive Plants

Hydrilla mat covering the surface of Lake Okeechobee

Ninety-six percent of the Florida public waters inventoried in 2013 contained one or more exotic plants. The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (FLEPPC) lists 12 of the 24 non-native aquatic plants found in Florida’s public waters among the 66 Category I invasive plants. Category I plants are plants that invade or disrupt native plant communities.

Category I invasive plants were reported in 96% of the public waters inventoried during 2013 and impacted more than 102,000 acres (including more than 90,000 acres impacted by hydrilla plants and tubers).

Invasive aquatic plants
are characterized by

  • rapid growth
  • multiple reproductive methods
  • wide dispersal and survival
  • broad environmental tolerance
  • resistance to management

Problems caused by invasive
aquatic plants include

  • loss of recreation
  • severe oxygen depletion
  • stunted fish populations, fish kills
  • water-flow restrictions, flooding
  • navigation restrictions
  • accelerated sedimentation
  • habitat destruction
  • reduction in biodiversity
  • reduction in property values