Virginia Invasive Species

Early Detection Plant Species of Virginia

Giant Salvinia (Salvinia molesta)

What's the harm?

Giant salvinia forms dense mats on the surface of ponds and slow moving water. The mats block light from penetrating to anything below, impede water flow, and turn an otherwise habitable body of water dark and stagnant. Boats cannot navigate waters heavily infested with giant salvinia.

giant salvinia

What is it?

Giant salvinia is a free-floating aquatic fern which grows year-round.

giant salvinia

Where's it from?

The native range of giant salvinia is located in northern Argentina to southeastern Brazil. 

How did it get here?

Giant salvinia was originally introduced to the US through the nursery trade.

Where is it now?

Giant salvinia thrives in warm, slow-moving freshwater habitats, including lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, wetlands, ditches, and cultivated rice fields. 

It grows as an invasive in north, central and southwest Florida. It has also spread across the southeastern US, as it has been reported in TX, LA, GA, AL, NC and VA. In Virginia, giant salvinia was eradicated from one known location. 


What's being done?

Giant salvinia was discovered in one pond in Virginia. It was sucessfully eradicated and has not be reported in Virginia since. Education is being conducted to encourage vigilance of citizen scientists and resource professionals.

giant salvinia

How do I report a sighting of this species?

You can choose from several ways to report sightings of an invasive species here >> 

How can I learn more?

Go here for more info and photographs of this species >>

Image Credits

University of Georgia,