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 as well as flooding have led to 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 as well as its availability to be purchased online makes it a species that can be easily introduced.
Yellow floating-heart ranges throughout several states in the United States, as well as provinces in Canada. It has been reported in 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.
For an up to date distribution map of yellow floating-heart in Ontario, visit EDDMapS.org/Ontario/distribution.
Impacts of Yellow Floatingheart
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.
- Decreasing the level of oxygen, creating stagnant water environments which are ideal habitats for mosquitoes to breed.
- Making it difficult to enjoy recreational activities such as boating, fishing, and swimming.
How to Identify Yellow Floatingheart
- Aquatic, bottom-rooted perennial plant.
- Stems are long and branched, reaching up to 1 m or more, located below the surface of the water.
- Leaves are circular or heart shaped and about 3 to 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 through yellow floating-heart infestations. Your propeller can break off fragments and spread the species to new areas.
- Clean, Drain, Dry your vessel, trailer, and equipment after each use.
- 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 another invasive species in the wild, please contact the toll-free Invading Species Hotline at 1-800-563-7711, visit EDDMapS Ontario, or search for the ‘Invasive Species in Ontario’ project on iNaturalist.org 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