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Researchers Keep An Eye on Non-Native Plants
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Researchers recently learned of two invasive plants that have been found in or near Connecticut.

Greg Bugbee heads up the invasive aquatic plant program at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. He recently learned that Brazilian water weed, a nonnative plant that grows aggressively was found in a lake in Rhode Island that empties into a waterway in Connecticut. And just last week Bugbee found several patches of water hyacinth growing in Mill Pond in Newington. The water hyacinth has a pinkish, purple flower and is sold for use in water gardens

The state of Connecticut includes the water hyacinth on a list of invasive plants, most of which are banned. But this plant can be sold legally because there’s no evidence it can survive the winter. Greg Bugbee

“If this plant somehow develops the  ability to overwinter either because the weather warms or the plant adapts to the colder conditions then we have a serious problem on our hand. Then we potentially have lakes and ponds over run with this particular invasive species. Right now the evidence is not there to support it.”

The plant is native to the tropics and has become a severe problem in Florida where it chokes waterways and interferes with swimming and boating. State authorities will decide whether to try to eradicate the patches of water hyacinth found in Newington The discovery comes at a time when funding for enforcing invasive plant laws has been cut from the state budget.