Salvinia moss

Salvinia molesta


Photo credit: ©Colin Wilson
Salvinia molesta
  • Salvinia moss is a free-floating aquatic plant, with short green leaves in whorls of three.

Origin and Worldwide Distribution:
  • It is native to Brazil, and spreads in a variety of aquatic habitats, including rivers, lakes, and rice paddies. It has been spread to India, Indonesia, Israel, Kenya, Ghana, Mali, the United States of America, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Portugal.

Potential or Known Impacts:
  • It competes with native species for water, nutrients and space, leading to poor crop production in rice paddies, and reduced plant biodiversity in the wild.
  • Aquatic fauna may be reduced under well-established populations.

How could it get here?
  • It can move through waterways due to the water's movement and activities of humans and fauna.
  • It has become an unintentional hitchhiker on boating equipment, and become a commercial interest as an ornamental plant.

Is it found in  Northern Ireland?
  • Not present in Northern Ireland.

Methods for Prevention:
  • EU-level action includes a ban on sales and any planting or keeping, including in aquaria, as well as rapid eradication of any new populations to avoid the excessively high costs associated with its management later on.
  • Report all sightings.
  • Know what you grow.
  • Don't swap cuttings with other people.
  • Ensure that water equipment (e.g. kayaks, fishing rods, Wellington boots) are clean and dry before using in another water body. See Check Clean Dry for further information. 

You can help by reporting any sightings: @ the Centre for Environmental Data & Recording (CEDaR) - Or via the iRecord App.
Current Legislative Position (Listed on 14 August 2019)
  • This species must not intentionally be brought into the Union; kept; bred; transported to, from or within the United Kingdom, unless for the transportation to facilities in the context of eradication; placed on the market; used or exchanged; permitted to reproduce, grown or cultivated; or released into the environment.
For further queries, you can contact the Invasive Non Native Species (INNS) Team in the Northern Ireland Environment Agency on 028 9056 9558 or Email:  
Invasive Species Northern Ireland

Invasive Species Northern Ireland