Crested Floating Heart is native to Asia, introduced to the U.S. through aquatic plant nurseries that still market these plants today. It escaped from cultivation in the 1990’s and has been an aquatic nuisance established in public waterways in Florida for years. Today, Crested Floating Heart is scattered abundantly throughout many southern states with tropical climates.
Crested Floating Heart has heart-shaped floating leaves at the ends of long stems that are rooted in submersed sediment. It has slender, tapered clusters of tuberous roots on the underside of it's floating leaves and features a small white 5-petaled flower. These weeds propagate from tubers (“ramets”) or daughter plants that break free from it's mother. This small fragment can be transported by wind, flowing water, boats, boat trailers and re-establish as new colonies. Crested Floating Heart can out-compete native plants, impact water supplies from hydropower plants, disrupt the ecosystem, and ruin recreational activities such as boating, swimming and fishing.
There are no known insects that feed on Crested Floating Heart. Grass Carp (weed-eating fish) will not eat it, winter draw down does not work and mechanical removal is ineffective. Aggressive chemical control is the best way to remove new colonies of Crested Floating Heart. 2,4-D is a systemic option that is best applied at 2ppm early spring at the first sign of new growth. Repeat treatment 3-5 weeks after the first application if weeds begin to show signs of recovery. Glyphosate, mixed with a surfactant, is most effective mid-season when leaves are up and in full bloom. Repeat treatment will be needed to kill the entire root system. Endothall is a fast-acting contact option that can be applied anytime good contact with foliage can be made. For best results, apply at the highest recommended rate of 5ppm. Repeat treatment will be needed approximately 45 days after the first application or when good contact with foliage can be made.
It is important to do our part. Buy native plants for backyard water gardens. Remove known invasive weeds from our ponds so they don’t invade neighboring waterways. Clean boats and boat trailers carefully when removed from infested waters. Finally, report Crested Floating Heart sightings to your local environmental agency.