En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Saturday - May 28, 2011

From: Lake Charles, LA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Why is Water Hyacinth an invasive plant and Pickerel Weed isn't in Metarie, LA?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Water Hyacinth. Would you please tell me why the Eichhornia crassipes (non-native) vs. Pickerelweed (native) is invasive vs. non-invasive? What are easy identifiers for these aquatic plants? Thanks and Regards, K

ANSWER:

Water Hyacinth and Pickerel Weed Pontederia cordata (Pickerelweed) are both aquatic plants in the Water Hyacinth Family (Pontederiaceae).  Although both have purple flowers, they are easy to distinguish by the arrangement of the flowers and the shape of the leaves. Click on each of the links below to compare these features.

Pickerel Weed 

  http://www.vplants.org/plants/species/species.jsp?gid=32287

  more images  

Water Hyacinth

   more images 

Pickerel Weed is a native plant and by definition is not considered to be an invasive species , although it is an aggressive grower. The Water Hyacinth, being introduced from Brazil in the 1880’s, is listed as an invasive species and is the more aggressive grower of the two. This can be attributed to the difference in their growth habit. The Pickerel Weed is an immersed plant, growing in shallow water (< 2 ft). It has roots and rhizomes that attach it to the  substrate, and is thus restricted to growth along the edges of ponds, lakes, and streams. The Water Hyacinth, on the other hand, is a floating plant that has spongy parenchyma tissue in the petioles of the leaves that serve as flotation devices, and fine roots that obtain nutrients from the water. With no attachments, it can quickly cover the entire surface of the body of water where it is growing. It also has a high growth rate (studies have shown that populations can double in as little as six days).
      

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Getting rid of bermudagrass
July 13, 2010 - How do I get rid of bermuda grass in my San Augustine grass?
view the full question and answer

Killing oak sprouts from El Paso TX
August 16, 2011 - I want to know how to kill oak root sprouts and seedlings. Very dense and out-of-control in huge area of front lawn. I had tree cut down and I still cannot get rid of them. They're only getting wors...
view the full question and answer

Is a mulberry tree undesirable?
June 27, 2013 - I have a hard time keeping plants alive, so I was happy when a random plant just started growing and thriving about 5 years ago in my yard. My mom (a frequent volunteer at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildf...
view the full question and answer

How to get rid of plants spreading fluffy seeds
July 27, 2008 - I live in Blaine, MN next to a Lake. The "buffer zones" next to the lake are filled with native grasses, weeds & wildflowers. We are trying to identify a plant that blooms July with lavender flowe...
view the full question and answer

The invasiveness of Lupinus arboreus
January 23, 2009 - Hi, Researching Lupinus arboreus, I found that it is considered a serious invasive in Northern California coastal areas, especially Humbolt Bay. Scotch broom, of course, is an awful pest on the coast...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center