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Plant Legislation

Here in Iowa, our Department of Natural Resources (Used to be Fish and Game,
then the Conservation Commission, but these are the 90s.) managed to get the
Legislature to pass a bill, signed into Law, that makes it illegal to
"Transport Myriophyllum aquaticum, "Parrots Feather" on the Public Highways."
So, you can have it, plant it, do whatever, but DON'T transport it on the
Public Highways. Good intentions - the major spreading agent is outboard
motors, which are on boats which are transported on the Public Highways from
waterway to waterway.  So far, nobody has been arrested for "Transporting,"
but it will probably happen.  It is somewhat similar to the Federal ban on
transporting Water Hyacinth over State Lines.  Kind of hard to really enforce
equitably. One local Fish Store owner keeps Water Hyacinth over Winter in his
South facing Shop Window, and charges a pretty penny for starts each Spring.

Yes, you can buy Parrots Feather by mail. Of course, it is delivered "On the
Public Highways," which I suppose could make the UPS man or the Postman

Silly me, I thought the stuff would not survive our Iowa winters. (!!!) I
always kept a little pot of it in a windowsill, to re-start in my front yard
Lily Pool each Spring. Apparently, that is not necessary. Regardless, even
though I really like it, I don't grow it any more.  Now I wonder if
Vallisneria would live over in my pool? Anybody know?  Sagittaria of various
kinds grow wild, but I only see them in the emersed form, with the arrowhead
leaves and the white flowers. Will our Aquarium Sagittarias survive winters?
Same species, or different ones?  Potential problem?

I am not making light of the possibilities of getting unwanted plants started.
We have plenty of evidence!  Oddly enough, most of the really bad problem
plants were originally put in waterways by the very folks who now want
Legislation to ban them. It is a lot less embarrassing to blame "Aquarium
Hobbyists." Same with exotic fish. The worldwide problems mostly seem to come
from well-intentioned Government Agencies. :-(   Sometimes things like Gypsy
Moth come in quite unintentionally, on a saw log, etc.  Then, the living
things are readily transported by Recreational Vehicles, ordinary cars and
trucks, motorboats, etc. Kind of discouraging, when you think about it. Go on
Vacation, bring back a pest. 

I have misplaced my New Britton and Brown, so I can't look up the Native
ranges of Vallisneria and Sagittaria, etc. Does anybody else on the List have
such references handy? It would be helpful to know what IS really Native to
various areas of the world, so we would know what should NOT be planted in
areas where it might escape. For example, an Agronomist friend says the entire
State of Iowa is covered with Cat Tail seeds, (It is Native here.) so many
that, should the entire State be submerged for a summer, the entire State
would be one solid mass of Cat Tail!!

No wisdom here. Just thinking on a nice May morning. 


Jean Olson
JOlson8590 at AOL_com