Alternanthera philoxeroides

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Taxonomy
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Amaranthaceae
Genus: Alternanthera
Species: philoxeroides
Scientific Name
Alternanthera philoxeroides
(Mart.) Griseb.
Scientific Name Synonym
Achyranthes philoxeroides
(Mart.) Griseb.
Common Names

alligatorweed, alligator weed, pig weed

Overview

Appearance
Alternanthera philoxeroides is an emergent or rooted floating plant that invades aquatic areas and adjoining uplands throughout the southern portions of the United States. Plants have hollow stems and can grow to 3 ft. (1 m) tall.
Foliage
Opposite, elliptical leaves are thick but non-succulent and are up to 4 in. (10 cm) long.
Flowers
Flowering occurs during the summer with white, clover-like heads in the axils of the leaves.
Fruit
Fruits are very small, and single-seeded.
Ecological Threat
Alternanthera philoxeroides roots in wet soils or shallow water and grows out into waterways. Alternanthera philoxeroides can also grow terrestrially, forming smaller, tougher leaves. The thick mats can displace native vegetation and wildlife habitat, clog waterways, restrict oxygen levels of water, increase sedimentation, interfere with irrigation and prevent drainage. It is native to South America and was first introduced into the United States around 1900 in ballast water.

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