Pistia stratiotes L.

Locations ofPistia stratiotes L. in Virginia

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Botanical Name
Pistia stratiotes L.
Common Name
Water Lettuce
Flora of Virginia Name/Status
Pistia stratiotes L.
Pistia appeared on the University of Richmond campus in 2008 and has persisted over the winter thus documenting the potential establishment of water lettuce in Virginia. The discovery and subsequent disappearance of Pistia at Reedtown Lake, Virginia Beach, in Nov. 2007, is the topic of a short article in Banisteria 35:65-68 (2010). Another report from New Kent County is mentioned in the same article, but its present status there is unknown. In 2017, the species was discovered in Nottoway Falls Lake (Lunenburg Co.), where it also appears to be recently over-wintering.
Lakes, ponds, reservoirs, and other impoundments. Discovered in Reedtown Lake in Virginia Beach in 2007 and 2008 and in Diascund Reservoir in New Kent County in 2009 (Coffie and Atkinson 2010). Also present in a lake on the campus of the University of Richmond since 2008, where it has overwintered and persists (J. Hayden, pers. obs.). Also apparently overwintering in Nottoway Falls Lake in the southern Piedmont. The species has some difficulty persisting in this climate but can be extremely aggressive once established. The possibility of future introductions, or undiscovered populations, is great, particularly given the popularity of the species in the aquarium trade.
Native Status

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