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Invasive Species: Giant Salvinia

Giant Salivnia

(Salvinia molesta, auriculata, biloba, or herzogii)
*Not detected in Michigan*


Report this species:

Use the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN) online reporting tool

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  • Floating leaves are oblong, ½ to 1 ½ inches long, and vary from green to gold to brown.
  • Leaves have arched, white hairs resembling egg beaters.
  • Submerged fern fronds are stringy and root-like, but the plant has no real roots.
  • Leaves of mature plants grow vertically and curl, creating a chain-like structure.

giant salvinia
Photo courtesy of Robert Videki, Doronicum Kft.

giant salvinia
Photo courtesy of Troy Evans, Great Smoky Mountains National Park,

giant salvinia

Habitat: This free-floating aquatic fern can grow in almost any water system including lakes, streams, ditches and wetlands.

Native Range: Brazil.

U.S. Distribution: Southern states as far north as Virginia, also Hawaii.

Local Concern: Giant salvinia forms chains of leaves that link together into thick mats on the water’s surface.  These mats restrict light and oxygen, shading out native plants and organisms and disrupting ecosystems.  Giant salvinia reproduces from plant parts and can be transported by waterfowl or boats.


Giant Salvinia Invasive Species Alert - Printable PDF

MDARD Weed Risk Assessment for Giant Salvinia (Salvinia molesta) - This document evaluates the invasive potential of the plant species using information based on establishment, spread and potential to cause harm.