This post is a part of New York Invasive Species Awareness Week. You can learn more about the event here.

What is Brazilian elodea?

A green leafed water weedBrazilian elodea (Egeria densa), also known as Brazilian Waterweed, is a popular aquarium and water garden plant that is often sold under the generic name “Anacharis”. A submerged invasive perennial plant that looks very similar to some native species, Brazilian elodea is characterized by its bright green coloration and minutely serrated leaves that are 1-3 centimeters long and up to 5 millimeters wide. Brazilian elodea has four (sometimes eight) leaves per whorl; whereas hydrilla, another invasive species, has five leaves per whorl; and the native American elodea waterweed, has only three. Brazilian elodea also has small white flowers in the spring and fall. The flowers have three petals and either float on the water or above the surface on threadlike stems. Only male flowers have been found in North America so far, so seed production does not occur in its introduced range. 

Brazilian Elodea can be found in wetlands, lakes, ponds and slow-flowing streams and can grow in water up to 20 feet deep. It sends stems to the surface where the plant forms dense matsIn North America, Brazilian Elodea regenerates only from fragments that break off to form new plants. This allows the plant to spread quickly. 

How do we stop it?

Clean, Drain, and Dry: Always clean, drain, and dry your boat, paddle gear, and footwear after use. This prevents the transfer of organisms between water bodies.

  • Clean all plant stems and fragments and mud from boats and trailers before leaving your lake or river and dispose of them in an aquatic invasive species disposal station if one is available.
  • Empty all water from your gear well before moving to a new body of water.
  • Dispose of leftover bait in the trash, not in the water.
  • Clean out waders and wading boots before moving to a new body of water.
  • Dry your boat and gear thoroughly between water bodies by towel drying or drying in the sun for at least 5 days.

Read more about Clean, Drain, and Dry requirements and best practices at the following websites: 

Northern Forest Canoe Trail
Lake Champlain Basin Program


If You See It, Report It

You can report Brazilian Elodea sightings through the iMapInvasives website, the iMapInvasives mobile app, or by contacting the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP).


Volunteer with ADK

You can help ADK survey ponds and lakes for aquatic invasive species such as Yellow Floating Heart, European frog-bit, European Water Chestnut, and Curly Leaf Pond Weed. For more information on the Backcountry Water Monitors Project and upcoming workshops and outings, please visit our website. 


Learn More About Brazilian Elodea 

Please also see all invasive species of concern for the Adirondack Park [/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]