Massachusetts
Introduced Pests Outreach Project

Hydrilla

(Click on an image below to see the captioned full-size version)
Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 5
 
Figure 6
                 
Figure 7
Figure 8
 
     

Scientific Name: Hydrilla verticillata
Common Names: Hydrilla, Water Thyme

Hydrilla is a noxious water weed that can quickly form an impenetrable mat. In the Northeast this weed has been found in one pond on Cape Cod, MA and one pond in Stonington, Connecticut. Figures 1 and 2 illustrate the amount hydrilla grew over 18 days in a CT pond. See the invasive alert on the Invasive Plant Atlas of New England website: http://nbii-nin.ciesin.columbia.edu/ipane/invasivealerts/invasives_hydrilla.htm

Habitat:
Almost any body of fresh water: lakes, ponds, rivers, canals, marshes

Key ID Features:
A submersed water plant with long stems (up to 25 feet in length) which branches profusely at the surface. Plant forms a dense mat. (Figure 3 and 4)
Leaves are small (3/4 inch) and pointed with toothed margins. (Figure 5)
4 to 8 leaves are arranged in a whorl (leaves radiate from a single point on the stem) (Figure 5)
The midrib of each leaf is often reddish with one or more sharp teeth.
¼ inch long turions are vegetative buds produces in the axils of the leaves.
Potato-like tubers are attached to the roots in the mud (Figure 6)
This plant can reproduced from seed, turions, tubers, or small fragments on the vegetation that may be transported on boats and trailers. (Figure 7)

Similar species:

Brazilian elodea (Egeria densa)
Non-native invasive waterweed (Figure 8)
4 leaves per whorl
Each leaf is at least 2 cm long.
Does not produce tubers
American waterweed (Elodea canadensis)
Native water plant
3 leaves per whorl
Each leaf is less than 1 cm long
Does not produce tubers
Native Elodea (Elodea nuttalli)
Native water plant
Characteristics very similar to the American waterweed (E. canadensis)

The following website contains photos and descriptions of hydrilla and similar species:
Nonnative Fresh Water Plant: Hydrocharitaceae- Washington State Department of Ecology
http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/plants/weeds/aqua008.html

Fact sheets and references:
Hydrilla Fact sheet: Massachusetts Dept. of Conservation and Recreation Lakes and Ponds Program
http://www.mass.gov/dcr/waterSupply/lakepond/factsheet/Hydrilla.pdf

Invasive Plant Atlas of New England
Invasive Alert with details of New England finds of Hydrilla verticillata
http://nbii-nin.ciesin.columbia.edu/ipane/invasivealerts/invasives_hydrilla.htm
Hydrilla web page with images, descriptions of hydrilla and similar species, and links to other sources
http://nbii-nin.ciesin.columbia.edu/ipane/icat/browse.do?specieId=22

Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants, University of Florida and Sea Grant
Excellent web page about hydrilla with many photos
http://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/seagrant/hydver2.html

United States Geological Survey, Nonindigenous aquatic species: Nice map of hydrilla distribution in U.S.
http://nas.er.usgs.gov/taxgroup/plants/docs/hy_verti.html

The Nature Conservancy: Element Stewardship Abstract for Hydrilla verticillata
http://tncweeds.ucdavis.edu/esadocs/hydrvert.html

Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel
Hydrilla Profile Page
http://www.northeastans.org/hydrilla/hydrillaprofile.htm

last reviewed February 20, 2008


Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
Massachusetts Introduced Pests Outreach Project is a collaboration between the Massachusetts Dept. of Agricultural Resources and the UMass Extension Agriculture and Landscape Program. This website was made possible, in part, by a Cooperative Agreement from the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). It may not necessarily express APHIS' views.