The words Water Chestnuts makes you think of the delightful crunchy white slices you find in Chinese takeout, but the plant can be troublesome in America's waterways.
Water Chestnut (Trapa nations) is on the list of invasive plant species that are pretty to look at, but have the ability to choke out native plantlife and cause extensive damage in waterways.
According to Charles O'Neill, Jr. and Invasive Species Specialist in New York, "In its native habitat the plant is kept in check by native insect parasites. These insects are not present in North America and the plant, once released into the wild, is free to reproduce rapidly."
This plant is not the same species as the food item of which we are familiar, "but the fruit is used as a source of food in Asia and have been utilized for their medicinal (and claimed) magical properties." according to O'Neill.
Nancy Murray from the CT DEEP reported that a large population of water chestnut has been found in a pond a few miles east of the University of Connecticut.
Another big problem in Connecticut is the popularity of bamboo, beautiful and airy, sometimes majestic, it spreads like wildfire and once it is established, it is very difficult to control or get rid of. This will be one of the subjects brought up at the next meeting on March 13.
Connecticut's Invasive Plants Council recently released its Annual Report, highlighting many actions undertaken during 2011 to address problems caused by invasive plants.
The Council identifies invasive plant species as high priority for control, detection, and eradication efforts when resources are available, according to a IPC press release.
In 2011 the council developed guidelines for disposal of these invasive plants, the report is available to the public through www.hort.uconn.edu/cipwg.
The next council meeting is scheduled for March 13, 2-4 pm, in room G8-A at the Department of Agriculture, 165 Capitol Ave., Hartford
Meeting Minutes are posted at http://www.hort.uconn.edu/cipwg/ipc.html as they become available.