Basic Glossary of Invasive Aquatic Plants

South Santee Aquaculture
Water Chestnut is Invasive
We've been getting quite a few calls lately regarding aquatic plants which are not native to a pond environment, yet seem to be taking it over bit-by-bit-ie. "Invasive Plants". Let's first look at a concise definition of what classifies an invasive plant (
Invasive and Exotic Species of North America
any species, including its seeds, eggs, spores, or other biological material capable of propagating that species, that is not native to that ecosystem; and whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.

The classification of invasive plants can get a bit complicated, so below we are giving our readers a basic glossary of invasive plants.Below are definitions of the terms you may see in the stories about invasive aquatic plants:
Aggressive (a gres’iv):
Behavior marked by combative readiness; growing, developing, or spreading
rapidly; more severe, intensive, or comprehensive than usual especially in
dosage or extent
Aquarium ornamentals (a-kwer’e em or’ne ment’ls):
Plants that are put in aquariums for decorative purposes. In a home
aquarium, plants also can provide some of the same benefits as plants in the
wild, providing shelter and hiding places for fish and during the daytime,
photosynthesis helps take carbon dioxide produced by the fish out of the
water and puts oxygen back in.
Aquatic plants (e-kwat’ik pl’ants):
Literally “water plants,” that live on or in the water. An example of a plant
that lives on the water is a water lily. Plants that live in the water include
invasives such as Egeria densa and milfoil.
Bilge (bilj):
The compartment at the bottom of the boat where water collects that then is
pumped out or drained. The water that gets in the bilge can come from rain,
spray or small leaks such as loose fittings or joints as well as cracked or torn
Displace (dis plas):
In the case of invasive aquatic weeds, this means push out. Foreign invaders
such as milfoil and Egeria densa do this by literally pushing native plants out
of an environment by robbing them of nutrients and sunlight and by creating
water-quality conditions that make it hard for other plants, and sometimes
even fish and other aquatic life, to survive.
Eradication (e rad’ikat’shun):To tear up by the roots; to get rid of as if by tearing up by the roots.
Established (e stab’lish’d):
To make stable; make firm; set (to establish a habitat)
Hull (hul):
The body of a ship or boat. It keeps the water out and serves as the platform
for building the decks, cabins, etc.
Infestation (in fes ta shun):
To spread in or overrun as a nuisance or danger. In the case of invasive
aquatic weeds, the definition fits perfectly because of what the plants do to
the aquatic environment, the enjoyment that swimmers, boaters and anglers
lose, and the economic costs that farmers, ranchers, resort owners, groups
such as watershed councils and government agencies spend to try and
control or eliminate them.
Invasive (in va’ziv):
A species that is non-native, able to establish on many sites, grow quickly,
and spread to the point of disrupting ecosystems. It is also an alien species
whose introduction does or is likely to cause harm to the economy,
environment or human health.
Livewell (liv wel):
A tank on board a boat in which fish — from bait to an angler’s catch — can
be kept alive. Water is pumped into and drained out of the livewell to keep
oxygen in the water for the fish to breath. And it is the tubes as well as the
tank that can serve as hiding places for invasive aquatic weeds and other
unwanted pests to hitchhike from one lake, pond or river to another.
Mat (mat):
In the case of noxious water weeds, such as Egeria densa or milfoil, this
refers to the way a weed grows. The growth tips of the plants spread and
sprawl at the water’s surface creating a dense layer of vegetation that keeps
sunlight from getting to the lower-growing plants below and makes
activities, such as swimming or boating, virtually impossible.
Monoecious (mo nee shus):
A plant species in which male and female organs are found on the same
plant but in different flowers.
Native (naa’tiv), Indigenous (in dijj’e nes):
A species that is a part of the balance of nature that has developed over
hundreds or thousands of years in a particular region or ecosystem. Species
native to North America are generally recognized as those occurring on the
continent prior to European settlement.
Non-native (non’naa’tiv), Nonindigenous (non’in djj’e nes), Foreign
(for’in), Alien (al’yen), Exotic (eg za’tik), Introduced (in’tre doos’d):
A species typically added with human help (intentionally or accidentally) to
a new place or new type of habitat where it was not previously found.
pH (p h):
A scale used to measures the acidity or alkalinity of something, from soil
and swimming pools to ponds and lakes. Distilled water at 77 degrees has a
pH of 7, and is called neutral. A pH above 7 is considered alkaline, while a
pH below 7 is acidic. Baking soda, as an example, is slightly alkaline and
has a pH of 9. The acid produced by your stomach, on the other hand, is very
acidic, with a pH of 1.
Photosynthesis (foto sen thi sis):
Photosynthesis is the process by which most plants use the green pigment
chlorophyll to convert sunlight, water and carbon dioxide into the “food”
that they need to live and grow. Photosynthesis releases oxygen into the air
for us to breathe.
Snowbirds (sno burds):
People whom, just as with some birds, migrate south in the winter to avoid
cold, rain and snow. Snowbirds return in the spring and early summer,
towing their boats that can pose potential problems in the form of aquatic
invaders from lakes, ponds and rivers from those warmer climates.
Wetlands (whet’landz):
Land or areas (as marshes or swamps) that are covered often intermittently
with shallow water or have soil saturated with moisture.

Other Related Sources for Further Exploration of Invasive Plants
Plants Database
Invasive Plant Atlas


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