Giant Salvinia

Giant Salvinia (Salvinia molesta)

Photo courtesy of DAR

Description (Thayer et al., 2021):

  • Free floating aquatic fern
  • Horizontal stem floats below water surface and produces three leaves from each node


  • Prefers slow moving water, most commonly found in lakes, canals, and rice paddies (CABI, 2019)
  • Does well in nutrient rich environments (CABI, 2019)

Impacts & Concern (Thayer et al., 2021):

  • Overgrows and replaces native plants
  • Consumes dissolved oxygen needed by fish and other aquatic life
  • Thick mats block sunlight from entering water, reduce water flow, and impede navigation 

Introduction (Thayer et al., 2021):

  • First introduced as an ornamental aquatic plant
  • Spread quickly by boats, fishing equipment, and other recreational gear

Distribution in Hawaii (Thayer et al., 2021):

  • Kauai: Present
  • Oʻahu: Present
  • Molokai: Not documented
  • Lanai: Not documented
  • Maui: Not documented
  • Big Island: Present

Related AIS Team Management Projects:

  • Kauai Salvinia molesta eradication project.


  • Thayer, D.D., Pfingsten, I.A., Jacono, C.C., Richerson, M.M., Howard, V. (2021) Salvinia molesta Mitchell: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL.
  • CABI. (2019) Salvinia molesta. In: Invasive Species Compendium. Wallingford, UK: CAB International. March 22, 2021, from