Water soldier (Stratiotes aloides) is an aggressive aquatic invasive native to Europe and northwest Asia. In 2008 the only known population in North America was found in the Trent River Ontario, Canada. This infestation was likely established by the use of water soldier as an ornamental plant in aquatic gardens. Stopping the sale and use of water soldier is imperative to preventing its spread.
Water soldier forms dense mats of floating vegetation that displace native aquatic plants and can alter surrounding water chemistry. These mats can also hinder recreational activities such as boating and fishing. Swimmers can become injured with cuts from water soldier’s sharp serrated leaf edges.
Leaves are 40 cm long, sword-shaped, bright green, with sharp spines.
Flowers are white with three petals, fruit is a fleshy berry containing up to 24 seeds.
Small infestations can be managed by hand pulling. Extreme care and proper protection should be used as the serrated edges can cut skin.
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