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Taxon  Report  
Salvinia minima  Baker
Water spangles
Salvinia minima is an annual or perennial herb that is not native to California.
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Genus: Salvinia
Family: Salviniaceae  
Category: fern  
PLANTS group:Fern
Jepson eFlora section: fern

Wetlands: Occurs in wetlands
Name Status:
Accepted by JEF + PLANTS

Alternate Names:
PLANTSSalvinia auriculata
PLANTSSalvinia rotundifolia
Information about  Salvinia minima from other sources

[Wikipedia] Non-native, Description, Invasiveness: Salvinia minima is a species of aquatic, floating fern that grows on the surface of still waterways.[1] It is usually referred to as common salvinia or water spangles. Salvinia minima is native to South America, Mesoamerica, and the West Indies and was introduced to the United States in the 1920s-1930s.[2] It is classified as an invasive species internationally and can be detrimental to native ecosystems.[3] This species is similar to but should not be confused with giant salvinia, Salvinia molesta. Description The leaves of Salvinia minima are small and oval, ranging from 0.4 to 2 centimeters in length.[1] Each rhizome of the fern floats close to the surface and has a joined set of leaves that branch off horizontally.[1] The leaves grow in joined sets of three, with two leaves floating on the surface and one leaf dissected, hanging underneath.[4] This species is rootless but the dissected leaves that hang down act as root-like structures and are longer than the floating leaves.[4] Fine white hairs grow uniformly on the leaf surface and serve to repel water. The hairs grow in groups of four but do not touch at the tips. There are longer brown hairs present on the underside of leaves as well. Leaves range from bright green to brown in color, often browning with age and in sunlight.[1] Invasive species Though Salvinia minima is native to Latin America and the West Indies, it has been introduced to parts of the United States, where it is considered an invasive alien species. It was first noted in the U.S. in St. John's river in eastern Florida. It is thought to have been transported there by shipping boats in the late 1920s or early 1930s.[1] S. minima quickly expanded its range throughout Florida and then expanded westward and northward in the United States. It spreads to new ecosystems on the bottoms of boats, in ship ballast tanks, through flooding waterways, or can be carried by birds or other animals. S. minima currently has a range that spreads across the southeast from Florida to New Mexico as well as some northern states, including New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Maryland. It is also present in Puerto Rico.[6] S. minima is listed as a noxious plant in Texas, where it is prohibited from being owned and transported.[6][7] Effect on native ecosystems When introduced to a new environment, Salvinia minima can quickly reproduce and form expansive mats on the top of waterways. Its presence and speedy reproduction can out-compete and inhibit the growth of native water plants. Mats of S. minima can block sunlight from entering the water, which suppresses the growth of underwater plants that photosynthesize, resulting in less dissolved oxygen in the water. This can lead to fish kills. Waterfowl species that feed on either fish or native aquatic plants can also be affected by a lack of food. In bayou and swamp areas specifically, S. minima is known to out-compete the floating aquatic plant duckweed (Lemnoideae). Duckweed is a relatively benign plant that is rich in protein and serves as a common source of food for many fish and bird species in its ecosystem.[8] S. minima, however, has questionable nutritional value,[9] although the Salvinia genus has been studied for use as a supplement in livestock feeds.[10][11][12][13] The result of an invasion of S. minima on native ecosystems can be a serious threat to native species and overall biodiversity. As such, S. minima is considered an invasive species and is described on the Global Invasive Species Database.[1][5] ] Salvinia minima can be a nuisance to recreational watercraft, especially kayaks and canoes, in areas where it grows densely. It can also have adverse effects on crawfish farming, rice farming, and other commercial activities that occur in waterways where it is present.[5] (contributed by Mary Ann Machi)


Suggested Citation
Calflora: Information on California plants for education, research and conservation, with data contributed by public and private institutions and individuals. [web application]. 2024. Berkeley, California: The Calflora Database [a non-profit organization]. Available: https://www.calflora.org/   (Accessed: 04/13/2024).