Salvinia molesta

Salvinia_molesta_Issempa_Wikimedia Commons
Photo by Issempa, via Wikimedia Commons

Synonyms: The Salvinia genus is complex of closely-related aquatic ferns that are difficult to distinguish from one another: Salvinia auriculata, S. biloba, S. hertzogii, S. molesta

Common names: giant salvinia; karibaweed; water velvet; African pyle; aquarium watermoss; water fern; koi kandy

Salvinia molesta (giant salvinia) is a floating aquatic fern (family Salviniaceae) found in the lower Colorado River and its drainages in the Sonoran Desert, and in San Luis Obispo County, California. Giant salvinia was originally introduced for use in aquaria and ponds. It grows in dense mats that may completely cover water surfaces, preventing water movement, increasing stagnation, and decreasing available oxygen. The thick mats exclude native plants, animals and recreationists while creating more habitat for mosquitoes. Giant salvinia is listed as a federal and state noxious weed.

Rating: High

Cal-IPC Resources

  • Plant Assessment Form - Information gathered by Cal-IPC on the impacts, rate of spread, and distribution of invasive plants in California. Does not include management information.
  • CalWeedMapper - Statewide maps, climate models, and reports.
  • Cal-IPC News - Our quarterly newsletter. Each issue is available as a pdf.
  • Cal-IPC Symposium Proceedings - Presentations and papers from our annual Symposium.
  • Don't Plant a Pest! - Select your region to find non-invasive alternatives to ornamental species. Also see our statewide brochure on trees.

    Other Resources

    Symposium Presentations

    • Tu, M. and J. M. Randall (2003). 2003 Cal-IPC red alert! New invasions, recent expansions, and a few others to be on the look-out For. California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2003. Kings Beach, CA.

    Cal-IPC News Articles

    • Winans, B. (2000). Salvinia molesta: Quick response averts expensive eradication project. CalEPPC News. 8: 3.