Hydrilla was once used in aquariums for many of the same reasons it makes for such an invasive pest. It is extremely hardy and can grow in many conditions (including low light levels and poor nutrient areas). It's agressive spread put the local ecology and economy at risk.
Hydrilla was first found in the wild in Florida in the 1950s, believed to have escaped from the aquarium trade. It has since spread to many parts of the US. Hydrilla can spread quickly since fragments of the plant can sprout roots and establish new populations. Fragments are easily caught and transported by boats and boat trailers, and can be dispersed by wind and water currents. Hydrilla also reproduces and spreads by buds produced along the stems which are often spread unknowingly by humans and animals or by someone dumping an aquarium irresponsibly.
Hydrilla was first discovered in the Cayuga Lake Watershed in 2011. Since then, the Hydrilla Task Force has been working hard to protect our waters from the aggressive weed.
Last updated January 6, 2020