Reporting an unusual pest or disease of plants or honey bees
Report any unusual plant pest or disease immediately using our online reporting system or by calling the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1 800 084 881. Early reporting increases the chance of effective control and eradication.
Please take good quality photos of the pests or damage to include in your report where possible, as this is essential for rapid pest and disease diagnosis and response. For tips on how to take a good photo, visit the Cesar Australia photo for identification guide.
Your report will be responded to by an experienced staff member who will seek information about the detection and explain next steps, which may include a site visit and sampling to confirm the pest or disease.Report online
Salvinia (Salvinia molesta) is a State prohibited weed.
Why you must report salvinia
Salvinia is banned in Victoria and across Australia.
Brought here for its beauty as a plant for fish tanks and ponds, salvinia is now in rivers and lakes in Queensland, New South Wales, the Northern Territory, and Western Australia.
Salvinia likes to grow fast when the water is nutrient rich, and the temperature is between 20 and 30°C.
In just one season, it can cover a whole dam, making it important to get rid of it as soon as you see it, to stop it from establishing and spreading .
Salvinia is a plant that floats on water and can cover large areas. It can clog up rivers, stop water from going where it should, and mess up fun activities like swimming and fishing. Plus, it is bad for the plants and animals that live in the water.Salvinia originated in South America and is a problematic weed in:
- North America
- South East Asia
- New Zealand
This is salvinia.
Salvinia has two kinds of leaves one floating and the other submerged. The floating leaves are green oval shaped and covered in waxy hairs which make the leaves water repellent.
The leaf shape varies depending on how crowded the plants are and the growth stage that it is in.
For a crowded plant the leaves are oblong and deeply folded together.
Isolated plants lie flat on the water surface.
Submerged leaves act and look like roots. There is no true root system.
Salvinia has been found in waterways, garden ponds, dams and for sale illegally at markets and online.
Salvinia has small, oval shaped leaves that grow in pairs and are covered in eggbeater shaped waxy hairs that repel water.
When crowded, leaves become tightly packed and deeply folded. Isolated plants have leaves that are oblong to oval or round, and lie flat on the water surface.
Submerged leaves look like roots, with short brown hairy stalks ending in hairy filaments that can grow up to 30 cm long.
Azolla plants (Azolla spp.) are also small, floating, perennial ferns with long free hanging roots, that are commonly mistaken for salvinia. The key difference is in the leaf shape and colour. Azolla has triangular shaped leaves that become red in colour when exposed to high levels of sunlight.
n Victoria, we only have one kind of salvinia, and it is called Salvinia molesta. This plant is a big problem in Victoria, and it is against the law to buy, sell, show, or move this plant.
Some salvinia plants might look a lot like each other, Salvinia molesta looks a lot like other plants, such as Salvinia minima, and Salvinia natans. You cannot tell them apart just by looking at them. You need to use DNA tests to be sure.
People selling salvinia plants on websites like Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, and eBay all over Australia. Lately, there have been many ads saying they are selling Salvinia minima (also called water spangles), even though this species has not been found in Australia.
Agriculture Victoria checked over 30 of these plants with DNA tests, and every time, they turned out to be Salvinia molesta. It is very likely that all the salvinia plants in Victoria are the same, even if they are advertised as something else.