Senegal tea plant

Gymnocoronis spilanthoides


Photo credit: ©Lalith Gunasekera
Gymnocoronis spilanthoides
  • The Senegal tea plant is an emergent freshwater or marsh-growing perennial, which can form bushes up to 1.5m tall, or mats of intertwined individuals along waterways.
  • It has large round clusters of white flowers, leading to another common name in the aquarium trade, "water snowball".

Origin and Worldwide Distribution:
  • It is native to Central America and South America, from Mexico to Argentina.
  • It has becoming invasive in India, Hungary, Italy, and Australia.

Potential or Known Impacts:
  • It grows very quickly, up to 15cm a week, and dense mats can block waterways, and displaces native flora and fauna.
  • It detracts from habitats' value by blocking channels and/or causing flooding.
  • It can spread by seeds and vegetative means.

How could it get here?
  • It was spread due to its value as an ornamental and aquarium status.
  • It can be spread though seeds and vegetative means, along with being spread by becoming attached to animals and to transport.

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.

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