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Invasive Plant Atlas of the US

Pistia stratiotes


Water lettuce

Synonym(s):
Family: Araceae (Arum Family)
Duration and Habit: Perennial Herb


Photographer: USDA APHIS Archives, Bugwood.org
Source: USDA APHIS

Description

Water lettuce is very easy to identify: it resembles a floating open head of lettuce and may be found singly or in abundance; its light green leaves are thick, hairy and ridged; its flowers are not seen except by close examination.

Ecological Threat: Severe infestations block light to the water ecosystem, reduce oxygen levels, increase siltation, reduce suitable fish spawning habitat and restrict water flow and boating traffic.

Biology & Spread:

History: Water lettuce has an uncertain origin. There is a large amount of confusion surrounding the origin of water lettuce due to its heavy worldwide distribution. However, it is commonly believed that it is a native of South America or Africa. There is particularly strong evidence linking water lettuce to South America. South America is the location of many regionally native insects associated with water lettuce.

U.S. Habitat: Water lettuce invades lakes, ponds and slow moving streams in tropical, subtropical and warmer temperate regions.

Distribution

U.S. Nativity: Introduced

Native Origin: South America to Africa

U.S. Present: AZ, CA, DE, FL, GA, HI, LA, MD, MS, NC, NJ, NY, PR, SC, TX, VI

Distribution: Florida west to Texas. Outside Native Range

Mapping

Invaders of Texas Map: Pistia stratiotes
EDDMapS: Pistia stratiotes
USDA Plants Texas County Map: Pistia stratiotes

Invaders of Texas Observations

List All Observations of Pistia stratiotes reported by Citizen Scientists

Resembles/Alternatives

Management

Contact herbicides such as Endothall and Diquat will act quickly, while systemic herbicides such as Rodeo act slowly. Take care to minimize impacts of herbicide application on native species. Decaying plant material may cause dissolved oxygen depletion.

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.

Text References

Bugwood Network. 2010. Pistia stratiotes. Accessed 20 August 2010 (http://www.invasive.org/browse/subthumb.cfm?sub=3064).

Germplasm Resources Information Network

NatureServe Explorer

Online Resources

Search Online

Google Search: Pistia stratiotes
Google Images: Pistia stratiotes
NatureServe Explorer: Pistia stratiotes
USDA Plants: Pistia stratiotes
Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States: Pistia stratiotes
Bugwood Network Images: Pistia stratiotes

Last Updated: 2007-11-08 by LBJWFC
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