Native to: South America
The earliest vouchered specimen of this plant in Florida is from 1913 and little is known about its introduction. It thrives in wetland systems and roadside ditches alike. A prolific seeder, plants flower within two years and over time produce and release millions of seeds. Research from Australia where it is also significant wetland invader demonstrated a very high seed viability range of 80-99%, which declined greatly within 2 years. The seeds are hydrophobic and will germinate while afloat in some cases allowing the formation of floating islands.
Habit: shrubby perennial forb; semi-aquatic, reaching up to 15 feet in height
Leaves: narrow and elliptic (lanceolate to ovate lanceolate), alternating leaves, rarely opposite, 5-15 cm long and 1-3 cm wide; both surfaces are pubescent
Flowers: solitarily, perfect (both male and female); 4 sepals (8-12 mm long); 4, rarely 5, yellow rounded petals (1-3 cm long and wide)
Fruit: short, stout, four-angled capsules, 1-3 cm long
Seeds: buff to light brown, elliptical or oblong, and usually between 0.3 to 0.8 mm long
Distribution in Florida: widely distributed throughout the peninsula and panhandle
A rapid colonizer, it can quickly establish dense infestations, crowding out native vegetation and reducing wildlife diversity. Floating plant islands reduce water flow and navigability. In Australia, the increased organic material from Ludwigia peruviana infestations led to changes in the water chemistry of ponds and wide-ranging ecological damage including recurrent toxic blue-green algal blooms. These impacts are outlined in the US FWS Ecological Risk Screening Summary.
Clean all vehicles, equipment, and gear thoroughly when moving from infested sites.
Do not plant.
Will readily resprout after mowing. More research is needed on integrated management of this species.
None currently known
2% Garlon 3A; 1% Habitat; 2% Clearcast, recommendations from Integrated Management of Non-native Plants in Natural Areas of Florida.
UF IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas
View records and images from University of Florida Herbarium