Keep An Eye Out For This Invasive Weed – Water Lettuce

Water Lettuce is a free-floating aquatic weed that forms in dense mats covering water.

Image courtesy of Gympie Regional Council

This weed is especially harmful to our ecosystem and waterways as it can restrict water flow, increase water loss through evapotranspiration and can suffocate other plants by restricting light and oxygen.

This weed also creates the ideal environment for mosquito breeding grounds.

Where is this weed commonly found?

As a result of flooding and illegal release into the environment, Water Lettuce can be found throughout most of eastern Queensland. This plant thrives in stationary and slow-moving streams such as rivers, ponds, dams, gullies and irrigation canals.

How do I identify this weed?

Like the name suggests, this weed looks like a small floating head of lettuce. The light green fan shaped leaves are spongy to the touch and feature parallel veins and fine hairs.

How can I manage this weed?

Early detection is key to managing this invasive weed; physical removal is most effective for small infestations. However, successful removal of this weed is best performed before the weed flowers and seeds. If the infestation is quite large, then an integrated method for control is recommended. This includes a combination of physical removal, biological control that utilises weevils and herbicidal control.

Please be vigilant in checking water bodies on your property for the presence of Water Lettuce.

Please call council on 1300 307 800 if you require water weed management advice.

To view the official Media Release issued by Gympie Regional Council in relation to this invasive species, please click here.

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