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Re: 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."
     Are you sure it's Myriophyllum aquaticum (parrots feather), and not M. 
     spicatum (Eurasian watermilfoil)?  Parrots feather, though a South 
     American import, is a popular pond plant and is not considered to be a 
     pest.  Neither Texas nor Florida ban parrots feather.  I don't 
     understand why Iowa would ban it.  Iowa does ban M. spicatum--check 
     Eurasian watermilfoil is a different story.  It is a major pest, and 
     is banned in most of the US and Canada, where millions are spent 
     trying to control it.  It would definitely tolerate an Iowa winter--it 
     is found as far north as Greenland!
     Eurasian watermilfoil first appeared in the Chesapeake Bay in the 
     early 1800's, probably carried in the ballast water of merchant ships 
     from Europe (See:  Gray, Asa.  1848.  Manual of the botany of the 
     northern United States (from New England to Wisconsin and south to 
     Ohio and Pennsylvania inclusive)). 
     Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) was first imported into the US 
     in the 1880's, to the St. John's River in Florida.  Cattle ranchers 
     brought it in because it grew so fast they thought it would be great 
     forage for cattle.  They didn't eat it.  Backyard pond owners took a 
     liking to it, and it soon spread everywhere.  In Louisiana, its' 
     introduction was traced to a pond owner in New Iberia, where it 
     "escaped" into the wild during a flood in the late 1890's.
     Hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata) was imported in the 1950's to Florida 
     where it was specifically cultured for the aquarium trade.  It first 
     appeared in urban canals in Miami and near Tampa in 1960 and soon 
     spread throughout the state, where it is considered to be the number 
     one plant pest.  It had spread to the other southeastern states by the 
     1970's.  It's our biggest plant problem here in Texas.