Image: Water primrose on a watercourse in Limoges, France (Trevor Renals)
The Environment Agency have reported on the progress they are making with the eradication of water primrose (Ludwigia grandiflora), an invasive non-native species originally from South and Central America.
This aquatic plant was introduced as an ornamental garden plant, but has now been banned from sale. It is highly invasive of ditches and watercourses and has proven destructive in Japan, France, and other parts of western Europe, excluding native plants and animals, and increasing flood risk. In the UK the Environment Agency is coordinating the eradication of water primrose, before it gets too established in the wild, but they need the help of water managers, farmers and the public to report sightings of the plant. An ALERT poster and ID sheet are available from: www.nonnativespecies.org/alerts.
Trevor Renals, the Environment Agency’s Senior Technical Advisor on Invasive Species said: “In floating pennywort we have seen the damaging and costly effects from when an invasive non-native aquatic plant becomes established in Britain’s watercourses. With water primrose we are hopeful we can ‘nip it in the bud’ and eradicate it, but we need everyone’s help. Recently there has been a decline in reports of new sites, and we are keen to establish whether this reflects a real decline, or a symptom of under-reporting.”