Species of the Week: European Frog-bit

Photo by Adam Kalab

This week’s #SpeciesOfTheWeek is the European Frog-bit (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae).  European Frog-bit is an aquatic plant native to the old world (Europe, and parts of Asia and Africa). It was brought from Europe to the Experimental Farm in Ottawa in 1932, intending to be used in ornamental ponds. Unfortunately, it escaped and by 1939 was already present in the Rideau Canal. It is now found throughout the Ottawa and Rideau river systems, the Great Lakes, Kawartha Lakes and some American states. European Frog-bit grows rapidly in mats that cover the surface of the water. In the fall it dies and, as it decomposes, it can lead to anoxia (lack of oxygen) in the water. European Frog-bit also reduces the biodiversity of water bodies by crowding native species which hinders their ability to access sunlight and also has a tendency to clog waterways and drainage systems. To counter the spread of European Frog-bit, boaters should reduce their speed when coming near areas infested with European Frog-bit so that the boat’s wake does not dislodge the plant and spread it to new areas. Additionally, boaters should remove any plant that adheres to their boat when moving between bodies of water. At Murphys Point, European Frog-bit has been spotted by the backcountry camping sites on Big Rideau Lake.

This entry was posted in Friends of Murphys Point, Murphys Point, Murphys Point Provincial Park, Species of the Week. Bookmark the permalink.

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