Kidney-leaf mud plantain is a sprawling annual or perennial aquatic plant. It is able to form dense mats and colonise open shallow water, such as disturbed wetlands and flooded rice production. Such characteristics make this weed a potential threat to native vegetation and freshwater aquatic habitats.
Kidney-leaf mud plantain has a wide natural distribution, originating from North, Central and South America. It has naturalised in Italy, Spain and areas of the USA that are outside of its native range. Heteranthera is a weed of rice crops in a number of European countries; particularly in Italy where rice yields have been drastically reduced by the presence of this weed.
Kidney-leaf mud plantain was introduced to Australia as an ornamental pond plant and has been actively promoted on a number of Australian websites. In February 2006, a naturalised population was found in northern Sydney. Then in late 2007, another population was located in coastal South East Queensland. Soon after, more than 20 additional sites were found in South East Queensland.
A number of small infestations have occurred in New South Wales (NSW) in the upper Richmond catchment, and in the Bellingen, Wyong, Newcastle and Dungog local government areas. More significant infestations have occurred at Coffs Harbour and Gloucester. All current infestations are subject to active control programs.
Kidney-leaf mud plantain's main method of dispersal is through vegetative reproduction. Any stem fragment containing one or more nodes is capable of producing a new plant. Plant fragments can be washed downstream or moved to a new location in mud stuck to animals or vehicles.
Seeds are winged and small, allowing them to be dispersed by wind and water. Seeds are capable of existing in the soil for many years.
Kidney-leaf mud plantain is 20–50 cm tall and grows in fresh water less than 15 cm deep and on damp soil at the water’s edge. The stems can grow along the mud under the water, with leaves and stems emerging, or the whole plant can float. Roots occur at nodes along the stem.
Key identification features
Kidney-leaf mud plantain will quickly colonise open sunny areas but does not grow well in shaded areas, or amongst taller growing vegetation such as sedges and tall grasses. It is most commonly found along roadside ditches, streams, ponds, drains, freshwater tidal mudflats and riverbeds.
Reviewed by: Charlie Mifsud, Rod Ensbey; Edited by: Elissa van Oosterhout
Csurhes S (2008) Kidneyleaf mudplantain Heteranthera reniformis Pest Plant Risk Assessment, Queensland Government–Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Brisbane
Hosking JR, Sainty GR, Jacobs SWL & Dellow LL (in prep) The Australian WeedBOOK
A local council weeds officer will assist with identification, control information, removal and eradication. Kidney-leaf mud plantain is capable of spreading from plant fragments and strict hygiene procedures are required for the control of this plant.
See Using herbicides for more information.
PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2020
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Only products registered for aquatic use)
Rate: 200ml per 10 L of water
Comments: Foliar application
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate
PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2020
Metsulfuron-methyl 600 g/kg (Brush-off®)
Rate: 10 g per 100 L of water
Comments: Foliar application in terrestrial situations only.
Withholding period: Nil (recommended not to graze for 7 days before treatment and for 7 days after treatment to allow adequate chemical uptake in target weeds).
Herbicide group: B, Inhibitors of acetolactate synthase (ALS inhibitors)
Resistance risk: High
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State Prohibited Weed
The plant must be eradicated from the land and that land must be kept free of the plant