Concerns about invasive plants on social media

Eichhornia crassipes - photo: newPlantsandFlowers

Eichhornia crassipes – photo: newPlantsandFlowers

A woman in Victoria, Austalia has been given a 12-month good behaviour undertaking by the court for attempting to sell the aquatic weed water hyacinth on Facebook. She was accused of trying to sell the plants on her Facebook page – badging them as pond plants. “Water hyacinth is one of the world’s worst aquatic weeds and infests rivers, dams, lakes and irrigation channels on every continent, except Antarctica,” says Angela Constantine in a press release of Agriculture Victoria, Department of Economic Development of the Victorian Government. Constantine is
Agriculture Victoria Biosecurity Manager – High-Risk Invasive Plants and explains in the press release that water hyacinth is a state prohibited weed in Victoria and is particularly harmful in aquatic environments.
Agriculture Victoria is concerned that this is not an isolated case, with previous instances of people using online forums such as Facebook and Gumtree to sell these plants.
European list of invasive plants extended
Last year, water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) was one of the aquatic plants which were banned by the European Commission’s as part of the Invasive Alien Species Regulation. The others are cabomba (Cabomba caroliniana), curly waterweed (Lagarosiphon major) and American skunk cabbage (Lysichiton americanus) along with the red-eared slider terrapin (Trachemys scripta elegans).
No distinction for sterile varieties
Recently the EU forbid to grow and to trade another nine plants including Pennisetum setaceum, Gunnera tinctoria and Asclepias syriac in spite of protests from several trade associations. Secretary-General Josep Pagès from the European Nurserystock Association (ENA) for instance, urged the European Commission to make a distinction between Invasive Alien Species and their sterile varieties. “Ornamental plant breeders have used a number of methods to develop sterile varieties, with low or no effective reproductive and dispersal mechanisms”, he memorized. These sterile varieties can according to the ENA not be defined as invasive.