Yellow floating heart is a perennial aquatic plant native to Asia and Europe. Introduced to North America in the late 19th century, it has been used as an ornamental plant in outdoor gardens. Since its introduction, accidental and intentional releases and flooding, have aided in its dispersal into other waterways.
Yellow floating heart is most commonly found in slow moving waters, about 0.5 to 4 m deep, such as rivers, lakes or ponds. Its ability to reproduce by broken stems and seeds and its availability to be purchased online make it an easily dispersed species.
Yellow floating heart ranges throughout several states in the United States, as well as provinces in Canada. It has mostly been reported in provinces including, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia. In Ontario it was found in a pond that is connected to the Rideau River, in the Royal Botanical Gardens Nature Sanctuaries near Burlington and areas near Georgetown and Erin.
Impacts of Yellow Floating Heart
Yellow floating heart creates dense mats of floating vegetation that impact the environment around it by:
- Shading out native aquatic plants.
- Degrading fish and wildlife habitats.
- Affect water quality by decreasing the level of oxygen, creating stagnant waters, ideal for mosquitoes to breed.
- Making it difficult to enjoy recreational activities such as boating, fishing and swimming.
How to Identify Yellow Floating Heart
- Aquatic, bottom rooted perennial plant.
- Stems are long and branched, reaching up to one meter or more, located below the surface of the water.
- Leaves are circular or heart shaped and about 3-10 cm.
- Flowers consist of five bright yellow petals.
- Seed capsules contain numerous flat, oval seeds.
What You Can Do
- Learn how to identify yellow floating heart and how to prevent accidentally spreading this invasive species.
- Avoid infested areas or reduce your speed when travelling by yellow floating heart infestations. Your propeller can break off fragments and spread the pieces to new areas.
- Inspect your boat, trailer and equipment after each use. Remove all plants, animals and mud before moving to a new waterbody.
- Avoid planting yellow floating heart in your aquarium or water garden. Aquarium hobbyists and water gardeners should only use native or non-invasive plants, and are encouraged to ask retailers for plants that are not invasive.
- Never release unwanted aquarium plants or pets. Return or donate unwanted plants to a garden centre or pet store, or put them in the garbage.
- If you find yellow floating heart or other invasive species in the wild, please contact the toll-free Invading Species Hotline at 1-800-563-7711, or visit EDDMapS Ontario to report a sighting.
OFAH/OMNRF Invading Species Awareness Program. (2012). Yellow Floating Heart. Retrieved from: www.invadingspecies.com.
This factsheet may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes.
Header photo by Greg Bales