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

Removal of mature agaves
November 20, 2007 - Hello- we live in Austin, TX and have a bed of different varieties of agave. They are near the walkway to our house, and are so out of control they pose a hazard to our guests walking up to the house...
view the full question and answer

Plants that will do well in a water retention basin in White Stone Virginia
May 23, 2011 - I am looking for plants to grow under pine trees in a water retention basin. The pine trees line the basin. When it rains it will hold water for about two to three days before evaporating. I have p...
view the full question and answer

Why isn't Lantana camara in NPIN?
October 16, 2009 - Why don't you have Lantana camara in your data base? It is very common here, and is in the USDA database.
view the full question and answer

Removal of invasive horsetail in Shelby Township, MI
June 19, 2009 - Please help me or direct me to who may be able to help. I have horsetail (Equisetum) invading my Blue Rug Juniper. Please tell me what I can use to get rid of the horsetail (Equisetum) without killi...
view the full question and answer

Non-native invasive chickweed in Collegeville PA
December 31, 2011 - My problem is chickweed. I have found considerable information on how to eliminate the chickweed. My question is after following a suggested elimination process: How and when do I reseed with grass?...
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