Kidney-leaf mud plantain (Heteranthera reniformis)

Also known as: heteranthera

Kidney-leaf mud plantain is a sprawling water weed with kidney-shaped leaves. It can form dense mats and smother other plants.

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How does this weed affect you?

Kidney leaf mud plantain is a water weed that forms dense mats in shallow freshwater and on damp soil at the water’s edge.

Kidney leaf mud plantain:

  • chokes dams, drains and water supply channels reducing water flow
  • prevents native water plants from growing
  • reduces food for fish and other aquatic life
  • can significantly reduce rice crop yields (up to 70% in water sown rice in Europe).

What does it look like?

Kidney-leaf mud plantain is an annual or perennial plant. It  grows  20–50 cm above the mud or water surface. The stems can either grow along the mud, under the water or the whole plant can float. Roots form at nodes along the stems.

Leaves are:

  • bright green, spongy and glossy
  • kidney-shaped
  • usually on a stalk 2–13 cm long
  • up to 5 cm wide
  • narrow when young, becoming wider as they age
  • alternate along the stem
  • floating or above the water.

Sometimes there is a cluster of stalkless leaves at the base of the stem.

Flowers are:

  • white, mauve to pale-blue with six petals
  • open in the morning and wilt by early afternoon
  • on a spike, 1–9 cm long with 2–10 flowers per spike
  • present in summer and autumn in temperate to subtropical areas.

Fruit are:

  • small capsules containing 8-14 seeds
  • 0.5-1.0 mm long. 

Seeds are:

  • 0.5–0.9 mm long
  • 0.3–0.5 mm wide
  • winged.

Where is it found?

There are small infestations in the upper Richmond catchment, parts of Sydney, and in the Bellingen, Wyong, Newcastle, Dungog and Port Macquarie local government areas. 

There are larger infestations at Coffs Harbour and Gloucester.

It has also been found in rice growing regions near Leeton in the Riverina. 

All infestations are actively being controlled.

Kidney-leaf mud plantain was introduced to Australia as an ornamental pond plant. It comes from North, Central and South America. It has naturalised in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Macedonia and areas of the USA outside its native range. In Europe it has significantly reduced rice yields. 

What type of environment does it grow in?

Kidney-leaf mud plantain grows in freshwater less than 15 cm deep and in damp soil at the edge of water bodies. It grows in rivers, drains, ditches, rice fields, irrigation channels and wetlands.

It can grow in shaded areas but grows best in full sun. It does not grow well among taller vegetation such as sedges, rushes and grasses. 

Maps and records

How does it spread?

By seed

Wind and water disperse the winged seeds. Seeds may also be spread in mud that has stuck to birds and vehicles.

By plant parts

Any stem fragment containing one or more nodes is capable of producing a new plant. This is the main way it spreads. Plants fragments may be washed downstream. They can also be moved to new locations if they are in mud or debris stuck to animals, people or vehicles.

What type of environment does it grow in?

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 and riverbeds.

References

Csurhes S (2008) Kidneyleaf mudplantain Heteranthera reniformis Pest Plant Risk Assessment, Queensland Government–Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Brisbane

Ferrero, A. (1996). Prediction of Heteranthera reniformis competition with flooded rice using day-degrees. Weed research, 36(2), 197-201. 

Hosking JR, Sainty GR, Jacobs SWL & Dellow LL (in prep). The Australian WeedBOOK.

Karov, I., Mitrev, S., Mihajlov, L., Ristova, D., Nakova, E., & Kovacevik, B. (2013). Heteranthera reniformis Ruiz & Pavón new weed in rice field in the region of Kocani. Journal of Agriculture and Plant Sciences, 4(1), 147-155.

PlantNET (The NSW Plant Information Network System).  Heteranthera reniformis. Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, Sydney. http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Heteranthera~reniformis Acessed 20 April 2020.

Richardson, F. J., Richardson, R. G., & Shepherd, R. C. H. (2016). Weeds of the south-east: an identification guide for Australia (No. Ed. 3). CSIRO.

More information

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Control

If you suspect you have found kidney-leaf mud plantain contact a local council weeds officer as soon as possible. Weeds officers 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.

Herbicide options

WARNING - ALWAYS READ THE LABEL
Users of agricultural or veterinary chemical products must always read the label and any permit, before using the product, and strictly comply with the directions on the label and the conditions of any permit. Users are not absolved from compliance with the directions on the label or the conditions of the permit by reason of any statement made or not made in this information. To view permits or product labels go to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority website www.apvma.gov.au

See Using herbicides for more information.


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Only products registered for aquatic use)
Rate: 200 mL per 10 L of water
Comments: Foliar application
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
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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Biosecurity duty

The content provided here is for information purposes only and is taken from the Biosecurity Act 2015 and its subordinate legislation, and the Regional Strategic Weed Management Plans (published by each Local Land Services region in NSW). It describes the state and regional priorities for weeds in New South Wales, Australia.

Area Duty
All of NSW General Biosecurity Duty
All plants are regulated with a general biosecurity duty to prevent, eliminate or minimise any biosecurity risk they may pose. Any person who deals with any plant, who knows (or ought to know) of any biosecurity risk, has a duty to ensure the risk is prevented, eliminated or minimised, so far as is reasonably practicable.
Central West Regional Recommended Measure*
Land managers should mitigate the risk of new weeds being introduced to their land. The plant should be eradicated from the land and the land kept free of the plant. The plant should not be bought, sold, grown, carried or released into the environment. Notify local control authority if found.
Greater Sydney Regional Recommended Measure*
The plant should be eradicated from the land and the land kept free of the plant. The plant should not be bought, sold, grown, carried or released into the environment. Notify local control authority if found.
Hunter Regional Recommended Measure*
Land managers should mitigate the risk of new weeds being introduced to their land. The plant should be eradicated from the land and the land kept free of the plant. The plant should not be bought, sold, grown, carried or released into the environment. Notify local control authority if found.
Murray Regional Recommended Measure*
Land managers should mitigate the risk of new weeds being introduced to their land. The plant should be eradicated from the land and the land kept free of the plant. The plant should not be bought, sold, grown, carried or released into the environment. Notify local control authority if found.
North Coast Regional Recommended Measure*
Land managers should mitigate the risk of new weeds being introduced to their land. The plant should be eradicated from the land and the land kept free of the plant. The plant should not be bought, sold, grown, carried or released into the environment. Notify local control authority if found.
North West Regional Recommended Measure*
Land managers should mitigate the risk of new weeds being introduced to their land. The plant should be eradicated from the land and the land kept free of the plant. The plant should not be bought, sold, grown, carried or released into the environment. Notify local control authority if found.
Riverina Regional Recommended Measure*
Land managers should mitigate the risk of new weeds being introduced to their land. The plant should be eradicated from the land and the land kept free of the plant. The plant should not be bought, sold, grown, carried or released into the environment. Notify local control authority if found.
South East Regional Recommended Measure*
Land managers should mitigate the risk of new weeds being introduced to their land. The plant should be eradicated from the land and the land kept free of the plant. The plant should not be bought, sold, grown, carried or released into the environment. Notify local control authority if found.
*To see the Regional Strategic Weeds Management Plans containing demonstrated outcomes that fulfil the general biosecurity duty for this weed click here

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For technical advice and assistance with identification please contact your local council weeds officer.
For further information call the NSW DPI Biosecurity Helpline on 1800 680 244 or send an email to weeds@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Reviewed 2020