Alligator Weed Seeds

Alligator weed Alligator weed is most commonly found spread across the surface of a body of water described in a sprawling fashion. It can be found in terrestrial areas around gardens or in Alligator Weed Thank two tiny bugs that alligator weed, Alternanthera philoxeroides , isn’t a bigger problem than it already is. Alligator weed is a plant of South American origin that made A semi-aquatic, aquatic, or terrestrial herbaceous plant that produces roots at its stem joints.

Alligator weed

Alligator weed is most commonly found spread across the surface of a body of water described in a sprawling fashion. It can be found in terrestrial areas around gardens or in between rows of crops with sufficient moisture present. Stems are pink and hollow and can reach lengths of 1 m with opposite narrow elliptical leaves. Flowers are reduced and white in color, have thin petals, and are on stems that extend 4-5 inches away from the plant.

Ecological Threat

Alligator weed grows in thick dense mats along the shoreline of lakes and streams creating difficulty for wildlife to access the edge of the water. Alligator weed doesn’t provide a sufficient food source or shelter for aquatic wildlife. By preventing native plants from growing, alligator weed removes necessary food sources and shelter for native animals.

Biology

Alligator weed is able to spread and reproduce rapidly through stems or leaf cuttings making it difficult to eradicate in areas once established because it can grow from small portions of the plant left behind. Alligator weed propagates most commonly from stolons vegatatively with each individual node capable of propagating allowing for rapid spread and propagation of the plant.

History

Alligator grass originated in South America, but was transferred to the United States through water ways accidentally. The exact date when the weed was transferred to the United States is not known. It became noticeable on a pest status in 1959 when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers investigated the damage potential caused by propagation of alligator weed. Investigation into damage potential of alligator weed resulted in placement on the federally noxious weed list for several states preventing further propagation and distribution.

Native Origin

Current Location

U.S. Present: Alligator weed is found in the southwest United States from San Joaquin Valley south to Los Angeles and across the south and east portions of the continent south to Central America.

U.S. Habitat: Alligator weed can grow in a variety of habitats from dry to immersed in water, but the preferred habitat is aquatic. In the United States alligator weed is most often found growing along the surface of streams and ponds at the shores edge.

Management

Physical removal of alligator weed is possible, but not usually 100% successful in eradicating the weed because the plant is able to re-grow and propagate from stem fragments alone. There are currently no biological control methods of eradication rather than goats which can keep the plant under control by feeding on the weed. Chemical control has been found to be the most successful when containing fluridone or imazapyr. Other chemical treatments have been found slightly less successful, but still effective when containing: 2,4-D, glyphosate, triclopyr, and imazamox. Systematic herbicides such as Navigate and Weedar 64 are successful chemical treatments as well.

References

Andres, L. A. 1977. The economics of biological control of weeds. Aquatic Botany 3: 111-123.

Barreto, R., R. Charudattan, A. Pomella, and R. Hanada. 2000. Biological control of neotropical aquatic weeds with fungi. Crop Protection 19: 697-703.

Buckingham, G. R. 1996. Biological control of alligatorweed, Alternanthera philoxeroides, the world’s first aquatic weed success story. Castanea 61: 231-243.

Holcomb, G. E. 1978. Alternaria alternantherae from alligatotorweed is also pathogenic on ornamental Amaranthaceae species. Phytopathology 68: 265-266.

Pemberton, R. W. 2000. Predictable risk to native plants in weed biological control. Oecologia 125: 489-494.

Zeiger, C. F. 1967. Biological control of alligatorweed with Agasicles n. sp. in Florida. Hyacinth Control J. 6: 31-34.

Alligator Weed

Thank two tiny bugs that alligator weed, Alternanthera philoxeroides, isn’t a bigger problem than it already is.

Alligator weed is a plant of South American origin that made its way to Mobile, Ala., in 1897, most likely as a stowaway in a ship’s ballast accidentally dumped in state waters. It’s now found throughout the Southeast and, surprisingly, as far north Illinois and as far west as California. It’s also spread to Australia, Asia and parts of the Pacific, where it invariably becomes a herbaceous pest.

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It can form sprawling mats over rivers or along shore lines, but it can also grow on dry land. Its leaves are elliptical to oblong in shape and grow opposite each other along its fleshy stem. The outer edges of the leaves are smooth, what botanists call complete. The stems themselves can exceed 30 feet in length. It blooms during summer, the flowers tiny, white-and-yellow, clustered on a head the size of a marble. Alligator weed apparently does not reproduce via seed in North America but rather vegetatively. It has nodes along the stems where roots and new stems grow. Break off a piece and you’ve got a new plant. By contrast, according to the authoritative Flora of North America, neither the fruit of the plant or its seed has been observed.

Alabama. Arizona, Arkansas, California, South Carolina and Texas all considered it to be a noxious weed.

Alligator weed is listed on Florida’s prohibited aquatic plant list, and as a Category II invasive. That means it growing in abundance but not enough to have altered habitats. Yet. Which brings us to the heroes of our story: the alligatorweed flea beetle, Agasicles hygrophila, and the alligatorweed thrip, Amynothrips andersonii, both released in the U.S. back in the 1960s.

Both bugs are native to southern Brazil and northern Argentina and both feed exclusively on the leaves of alligator weed. Left uncheck, alligator weed will form large, dense mats that can choke navigation, clog drain and intake pipes, limit light penetration and block out native species. Waterways can become unuseable for boating, fishing and swimming. By decreasing water flow, it increases the amount sediment in the water and provides breeding places for mosquitos. When it grow on land, it can invade farm fields and become and agricultural pest (and potentially clogging irrigation ditches).

Australia considers alligator weed to be a “high risk” invasive despite an aggressive effort to limit its spread. In China, it’s ranked as the country’s 12th worst invasive; in some parts of China, it’s reduced rice production by 45 percent and sweet potato production by 63 percent.

Part of the reason why alligator weed is such a problem is that it is one tough, adaptable plant. It will grow in water, it will grow on land. It will tolerate a fair amount of salt. It will also tolerate cold to a degree, dying back come winter in colder climates. By the way, the alligatorweed flea beetle is ineffective on alligator weed when it grows on land.

It’s also nutritious when cooked as a green, full of minerals and a fair share of protein. However, it also tends to pick up any toxins that might be present in the water, including heavy metals.

Alligator weed, also spelled alligatorweed, is a member of Amaranthaceae, the amaranth family.

Alligator weed

Biosecurity Queensland must be contacted within 24 hours of sighting, call: 13 25 23.

family

origin

declaration

Category 3 Restricted Matter (Biosecurity Act 2014)

Must not be distributed or disposed. This means it must not be released into the environment unless the distribution or disposal is authorised in a regulation or under a permit.

Common names

Alligator weed, Alligatorweed, Mukuna-menna, Pannankarni.

A semi-aquatic, aquatic, or terrestrial herbaceous plant that produces roots at its stem joints. These stems are often hollow when growing in water, and form dense mats of vegetation out over the water surface. Its oppositely arranged leaves are almost stalkless and elongated in shape (2-14 cm long and 1-4 cm wide). Its flowers are borne in dense globular clusters (1-2 cm across) on stalks 2-9 cm long in the forks of the upper leaves.These small flowers have five white ‘petals’ that acquire a papery appearance as the fruit mature.

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Leaf arrangement: Simple

Leaf form: Opposite

Impact

Impact

Alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides) is already an important environmental weed in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, and is seen as a potentially significant environmental weed in many other parts of Australia. It is regarded as one of the worst weeds in Australia because of its invasiveness, potential for spread, and economic and environmental impacts. In fact, this species has been named as one of Australia’s 20 Weeds of National Significance (WoNS). It is thought that the potential range of alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides) includes waterways throughout most of southern and eastern Australia.It is an especially troublesome weed because it invades both terrestrial and aquatic habitats, and is very difficult to eradicate. Alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides) can totally disrupt natural aquatic ecosystems by blanketing the surface of the water with thick mats of vegetation that impede the penetration of light below the water surface, shading out any submerged native plant species. These mats also promote sedimentation and flooding and prevent gaseous exchange, leading to a reduction in water quality (i.e. reduced oxygen levels in the water). Such changes to aquatic ecosystems can have significant negative impacts on the native plants and animals growing in them (e.g. reduce water bird and fish activity, cause the death of native fish and replace native wetland plants). When growing on land it also grows into a dense mat of vegetation with a mass of creeping underground stems (i.e. rhizomes) and is capable of out-competing all but the most robust plant species. It quickly displaces native plants and can be harmful to the native animals that rely on them.Alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides) is currently having the greatest impact in New South Wales, where the total infested area is now estimated at 3,950 hectares. It has spread from initial sites in the Newcastle area to invade aquatic habitats and seasonally flooded land in the Fullerton Cove, Williamtown and Raymond Terrace areas in the Lower Hunter region. In the Sydney region, alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides) has spread throughout the Parramatta and Georges River catchments. It has also spread to many other locations in the Sydney basin including the Botany wetlands, several northern suburbs and the Hurstville area. However, its continual spread downstream in the Hawkesbury/Nepean catchment, which now has approximately 70 km of infested waterways, in of most concern in this region. Large infestations have also bee located in Barren Box Swamp, near Griffith, and in a tributary of the Richmond River, on the far north coast.It should also be noted that alteration to the natural flow regimes of rivers, streams, floodplains and wetlands has been listed as a “key threatening process” to natural ecosystems in New South Wales. Exotic plant species such as alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides) have reduced stream flows and substantially contributed to this worsening environmental problem (i.e. by impeding water flow and increasing water loss through transpiration). Alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides) has also been found at several hundred sites in Victoria, though most of these sites are in backyards in suburban Melbourne. It is listed among the top 50 most invasive plant species in south-eastern Queensland, even though it is not yet widely naturalised in this region. This species is also regarded as a potentially invasive garden plant in the Greater Adelaide region and is considered to to pose a significant threat to Adelaide’s biodiversity.Alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides) is also very invasive overseas, and is considered to be one of the worst aquatic weeds in the world. In the USA, it forms dense tangled mats of vegetation that overtop native aquatic plants and out-compete them for sunlight. It eventually replaces desirable native species and can significantly alter the aquatic and riverine ecology of heavily infested areas. This species also invades drains, streams, swamps and similar wet habitats in New Zealand and is noted to be harmful to native biodiversity in China. It is also a major problem parts of southern Asia (i.e. in Burma, Thailand, Indonesia and India). For more information from the Queensland Government

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Location

Location

Characteristics

Characteristics

Similar Species

Similar Species

Alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides) is already an important environmental weed in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, and is seen as a potentially significant environmental weed in many other parts of Australia. It is regarded as one of the worst weeds in Australia because of its invasiveness, potential for spread, and economic and environmental impacts. In fact, this species has been named as one of Australia’s 20 Weeds of National Significance (WoNS). It is thought that the potential range of alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides) includes waterways throughout most of southern and eastern Australia.It is an especially troublesome weed because it invades both terrestrial and aquatic habitats, and is very difficult to eradicate. Alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides) can totally disrupt natural aquatic ecosystems by blanketing the surface of the water with thick mats of vegetation that impede the penetration of light below the water surface, shading out any submerged native plant species. These mats also promote sedimentation and flooding and prevent gaseous exchange, leading to a reduction in water quality (i.e. reduced oxygen levels in the water). Such changes to aquatic ecosystems can have significant negative impacts on the native plants and animals growing in them (e.g. reduce water bird and fish activity, cause the death of native fish and replace native wetland plants). When growing on land it also grows into a dense mat of vegetation with a mass of creeping underground stems (i.e. rhizomes) and is capable of out-competing all but the most robust plant species. It quickly displaces native plants and can be harmful to the native animals that rely on them.Alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides) is currently having the greatest impact in New South Wales, where the total infested area is now estimated at 3,950 hectares. It has spread from initial sites in the Newcastle area to invade aquatic habitats and seasonally flooded land in the Fullerton Cove, Williamtown and Raymond Terrace areas in the Lower Hunter region. In the Sydney region, alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides) has spread throughout the Parramatta and Georges River catchments. It has also spread to many other locations in the Sydney basin including the Botany wetlands, several northern suburbs and the Hurstville area. However, its continual spread downstream in the Hawkesbury/Nepean catchment, which now has approximately 70 km of infested waterways, in of most concern in this region. Large infestations have also bee located in Barren Box Swamp, near Griffith, and in a tributary of the Richmond River, on the far north coast.It should also be noted that alteration to the natural flow regimes of rivers, streams, floodplains and wetlands has been listed as a “key threatening process” to natural ecosystems in New South Wales. Exotic plant species such as alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides) have reduced stream flows and substantially contributed to this worsening environmental problem (i.e. by impeding water flow and increasing water loss through transpiration). Alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides) has also been found at several hundred sites in Victoria, though most of these sites are in backyards in suburban Melbourne. It is listed among the top 50 most invasive plant species in south-eastern Queensland, even though it is not yet widely naturalised in this region. This species is also regarded as a potentially invasive garden plant in the Greater Adelaide region and is considered to to pose a significant threat to Adelaide’s biodiversity.Alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides) is also very invasive overseas, and is considered to be one of the worst aquatic weeds in the world. In the USA, it forms dense tangled mats of vegetation that overtop native aquatic plants and out-compete them for sunlight. It eventually replaces desirable native species and can significantly alter the aquatic and riverine ecology of heavily infested areas. This species also invades drains, streams, swamps and similar wet habitats in New Zealand and is noted to be harmful to native biodiversity in China. It is also a major problem parts of southern Asia (i.e. in Burma, Thailand, Indonesia and India). For more information from the Queensland Government