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  • Vallisneria spiralis (Photo: William & Wilma Follette @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database/ Western wetland flora: Field office guide to plant species)
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Common name
val (English), coiled vallisneria (English), eelgrass (English), tape grass (English), eel grass (English), eelweed (English)
Synonym
Similar species
Summary
Vallisneria spp. commonly known as eelgrass are popular aquarium plants. They are submerged aquatic plants that can grow up to five metres. They grow in still or flowing water and form a dense monoculture that dominates from the bed of the water-body to the surface. Dense infestations may restrict recreational activities, cause flooding and silting and reduce the aesthetic appeal of a body of water.
Species Description
Eelgrasses are submerged rhizomatous (but not tuberous) aquatic plants, producing rosettes of long strap-like leaves which can vary in length from a few centimetres to 5.5 metres in deep water. Rooted or anchored in sediment they have no leafy stem; leaves all arise from a basal rosette at the sediment surface. Leaves have many small longitudinal veinlets and cross-septa, from 0.4-1cm wide. Plants form stout rhizomes that extend from the sediments. Numerous roots, up to 40cm long, sprout at each leaf-bearing node on the rhizomes (Greater Wellington Regional Council 2004b). The sexes are on different plants, the male flowers released and free-floating and the female with a spiral peduncle.
Juvenile or sterile specimens may be difficult to distinguish (Warrington 1994).
Notes
Vallisneria spiralis and Vallisneria nana are both known as “eelgrass” (S. Jacobs, pers.comm., 2006).
Uses
Rooted submerged species, especially those that yield high biomass, such as some Vallisneria spp. are important in phytoremediation (biological remediation of environmental problems using plants) due to their soil-binding roots, rhizomes and stolons (which help facilitate colonisation by benthic algae, other microbes and invertebrates) (Qian et al. 1999, in Vajpayee et al 2001). A study conducted to evaluate the accumulation and toxicity of chromium (Cr) in V. spiralis found that after one week the plants ameliorated 59% of Cr from tannery effluent (which contains a high level of chromium). A higher level of remediation was obtained when the tannery effluent was diluted; 95% of Cr was removed from 25% effluent. It was concluded that V. spiralis effectively removes chromium by surface absorption or adsorption (incorporating it into its own system or storing it in a bound form). Therefore V. spiralis may be effective in bioremediation of diluted tannery effluent and in restoring contaminated wetlands; however safe disposal of contaminated plants in cemented vaults is recommended (Vajpayee et al. 2001).
Habitat Description
Coastal wetlands, lakes, and rivers
Reproduction
There is no evidence of viable seed being produced in New Zealand and any new infestations are formed vegetatively (Greater Wellington Regional Council 2004b).
Pathway
The spread of this species to previously unaffected water bodies is normally the result of intentional plantings (Greater Wellington Regional Council 2004b).

Principal source:

Compiler: IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) with support from the Terrestrial and Freshwater Biodiversity Information System (TFBIS) Programme (Copyright statement)

Review: Dr. Surrey Jacobs Principal Research Scientist Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney NSW, Australia

Publication date: 2006-10-30

Recommended citation: Global Invasive Species Database (2018) Species profile: Vallisneria spiralis. Downloaded from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=878 on 18-12-2018.

General Impacts
Eelgrasses are submerged aquatic plants that can grow up to five metres. They grow in still or flowing water and form a dense monoculture that dominates from the bed of the water-body to the surface. Dense infestations may restrict recreational activities, cause flooding and silting and reduce the aesthetic appeal of a body of water.
Management Info
Options for control of Vallisneria spp. include mechanical removal, (with weed harvesters or suction dredges), chemical control with herbicide, manipulation of the habitat by drainage or weed mats and biological control with agents such as grass carp (Environment B.O.P. Undated). However, biological control should be carefully considered in respect to all situation-specific biotic variables. Taking biological control out of context, especially when there is a lack of robust scientific data, might cause more damage to an ecosystem than it prevents. Froude (2002) notes that while some generalist herbivorous fish promoted as biocontrol agents will reduce the biomass of plants in an area, their browsing is not host-specific as they reduce both undesirable and favoured plants. As an example she mentions grass carp used to reduce aquatic plant biomass.
Countries (or multi-country features) with distribution records for Vallisneria spiralis
ALIEN RANGE
NATIVE RANGE
Informations on Vallisneria spiralis has been recorded for the following locations. Click on the name for additional informations.
Lorem Ipsum
Location Status Invasiveness Occurrence Source
Details of Vallisneria spiralis in information
Status
Invasiveness
Arrival date
Occurrence
Source
Introduction
Species notes for this location
Location note
Management notes for this location
Impact
Mechanism:
Outcome:
Ecosystem services:
Impact information
Eelgrasses are submerged aquatic plants that can grow up to five metres. They grow in still or flowing water and form a dense monoculture that dominates from the bed of the water-body to the surface. Dense infestations may restrict recreational activities, cause flooding and silting and reduce the aesthetic appeal of a body of water.
Red List assessed species 0:
Locations
Mechanism
[1] Competition
[1] Other
Outcomes
[1] Environmental Ecosystem - Habitat
  • [1] Modification of hydrology/water regulation, purification and quality /soil moisture
[1] Socio-Economic
  • [1] Alteration of recreational use and tourism
Management information
Options for control of Vallisneria spp. include mechanical removal, (with weed harvesters or suction dredges), chemical control with herbicide, manipulation of the habitat by drainage or weed mats and biological control with agents such as grass carp (Environment B.O.P. Undated). However, biological control should be carefully considered in respect to all situation-specific biotic variables. Taking biological control out of context, especially when there is a lack of robust scientific data, might cause more damage to an ecosystem than it prevents. Froude (2002) notes that while some generalist herbivorous fish promoted as biocontrol agents will reduce the biomass of plants in an area, their browsing is not host-specific as they reduce both undesirable and favoured plants. As an example she mentions grass carp used to reduce aquatic plant biomass.
Bibliography
17 references found for Vallisneria spiralis

Managment information
Champion, P. Clayton, J. and Rowe, D. 2002. Alien Invaders Lake Managers� Handbook. Ministry for the Environment.
Summary: Available from: http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/water/lm-alien-invaders-jun02.pdf [Accessed 3 February 2005]
Champion, P.D.; Clayton, J.S. 2000. Border control for potential aquatic weeds. Stage 1. Weed risk model. Science for Conservation 141. .
Summary: This report is the first stage in a three-stage development of a Border Control Programme for aquatic plants that have the potential to become ecological weeds in New Zealand.
Available from: http://www.doc.govt.nz/upload/documents/science-and-technical/sfc141.pdf [Accessed 13 June 2007]
Champion, P.D.; Clayton, J.S. 2001. Border control for potential aquatic weeds. Stage 2. Weed risk assessment. Science for Conservation 185. 30 p.
Summary: This report is the second stage in the development of a Border Control Programme for aquatic plants that have the potential to become ecological weeds in New Zealand. Importers and traders in aquatic plants were surveyed to identify the plant species known or likely to be present in New Zealand. The Aquatic Plant Weed Risk Assessment Model was used to help assess the level of risk posed by these species. The report presents evidence of the various entry pathways and considers the impact that new invasive aquatic weed species may have on vulnerable native aquatic species and communities.
Available from: http://www.doc.govt.nz/upload/documents/science-and-technical/SFC185.pdf [Accessed 13 June 2007]
Environment Bay of Plenty. Undated. Part 2: Plant Pest Management Programmes. Environment B.O.P. (Bay of Plenty Regional Council): Bay of Plenty.
Greater Wellington Regional Council. 2004a. Eradication Pest Plants.
Greater Wellington Regional Council. 2004b. Eelgrass. [Accessed 9 February 2005, from ]
Greater Wellington Regional Council. 2004c. Help Stop Aquatic Alien Invasion. [Accessed 9 February 2005, from: ]
MAF (Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry)/Biosecurity New Zealand. Undated. Appendix A: Plants Listed as Noxious or as Pest Plants in 1973, 1993 and 2000.
Summary: Available from: http://www.maf.govt.nz/mafnet/rural-nz/sustainable-resource-use/land-management/emerging-weeds/appendices/appendix-a.htm [Accessed 3 February 2005]
General information
Ackefors, H. G. 2000. Freshwater Crayfish Farming Technology in the 1990s: a European and Global Perspective, Fish and Fisheries 1(4).
Freshwater Biodata Information System New Zealand (FBIS), 2005
Summary: The Freshwater Biodata Information System (FBIS) contains fish, algae, aquatic plant and invertebrate data and metadata gathered from New Zealand s freshwater streams, rivers and lakes. FBIS provides different ways to search for biodata: choose a predefined search from a list of common searches; use the map view to draw a box on a map and search for biodata; or create your own search for maximum search flexibility. FBIS is offered as a nationally available resource for the New Zealand public, institutions and companies who need access to a well-maintained long-term data repository.
Available from: https://secure.niwa.co.nz/fbis/validate.do?search=common [Accessed 5 August 2005]
Huss, A.A. and Wehr, J. D. 2004. Strong Indirect Effects of a Submersed Aquatic Macrophyte, Vallisneria americana, on Bacterioplankton Densities in a Mesotrophic Lake [abstract], Microbial Ecology 47 (4): 305 � 515.
Loczy, S., Carignan, R. and Planas, D. 1983. The role of Roots in Carbon Uptake by the Submersed Macrophytes Myriophyllum spicatum, Vallisneria americana, and Heteranthera dubia [Abstract], Hydrobiologia 98 (13).
USDA, ARS, 1994. Vallisneria spiralis L. National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database]. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland
Summary: Available from: http://www.ebop.govt.nz/media/pdf/pp3_prt2a.pdf [Accessed 3 February 2005]
Wigand, C. and Stevenson, J.C. 1997. Facilitation of Phosphate Assimilation by Aquatic Mycorrhizae of Vallisneria americana Michx [Abstract], Hydrobiologia 342 (0): 35- 41.
Contact
The following 1 contacts offer information an advice on Vallisneria spiralis
Jacobs,
Surrey
Webpage.
Research interest: Systematics of stipoid grasses; systematics of aquatic plants (especially Nymphaea, Vallisneria, Aponogeton); wetland ecology and condition assessment.
Organization:
Principal Research Scientist Royal Botanic Gardens
Address:
Sydney NSW, 2000 Australia
Phone:
+61 2 9231 8135
Fax:
+61 2 9546 5995