story to find out more.
Ludwigia, a member of the evening primrose family that sports beautiful
yellow blossoms throughout the summer. Click the image for more information
Water Primrose: Aquatic Invader Targeted
Wood May 15, 2006
Lovely but troublesome, a yellow-flowered plant called water primrose
ranks as a prime target of Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists who want to squelch the
spread of this water invader. Cristina
Hernández at the agencys South American Biological Control
Laboratory in Hurlingham, Argentina, leads the search for weevils and other
natural enemies of the invasive plant.
Candidate critters that pass rigorous tests to ensure they attack only
water primroseand not someones prized roses, for instancemay
someday be approved for use in the United States to attack the aquatic weed.
Today, water primrose (Ludwigia species) that are native to
South America infest ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, canals and reservoirs on
both East and West coasts of the United Statesas well as some inland
The plant crowds out native vegetation and clogs waterways, which can
lead to flooding not only of growers fields, orchards or vineyards, but
also riparian parks, nature preserves and more.
The research, a resumption of studies begun in the 1970s, should help
the health not only of waterways but of people and animals, too. Thats
because water primrose presents a haven for mosquitoes that could carry West
Nile virus. The virus, a relative newcomer to the United States, can infect
humans, horses, birds and other forms of life.
Hernández and coinvestigatorsincluding Willie Cabrera
Walsh at Hurlingham and ARS scientists based in Californiahave found that
some weevils noted in the earlier ARS studies still show promise as potential
candidates for attacking water primrose invasions in the United States.
about the research in the May 2006 issue of Agricultural Research
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agricultures chief scientific research agency.