European water chestnut USDA PLANTS Symbol: TRNA
U.S. Nativity: Exotic
Habit: Aquatic
Trapa natans L.

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Taxonomic Rank: Magnoliopsida: Myrtales: Trapaceae
Synonym(s): water chestnut, water nut
Native Range: Eurasia, Africa ()

Water chestnut is a rooted, floating plant that invades shallow to deep, fresh water habitats in the northeastern United States. Water chestnut can grow in 12 to 15 ft. (3.6-4.6 m) of water and forms dense, floating mats, often three layers deep. Leaves on the surface of the water are alternate, triangular in shape, strongly toothed and connected to the stem by an inflated petiole. Submerged leaves are feathery and either opposite or alternate. Flowering occurs from mid-summer to frost. Small, four-petaled flowers give way to the nut-like fruit. The fruit have two to four, ½ in. (1.3 cm) long, sharp, barbed spines. The spines can penetrate shoes. The dense, floating mats restrict light availability, reduce the oxygen content, and displace other emergent and floating vegetation. Water chestnut also limits boating, fishing, swimming and other recreational activities. Water chestnut is native to Europe and Asia and was first observed in the United States in Massachusetts in the late 1800s.

Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Selected Images from Invasive.orgView All Images at Invasive.org


Feature(s); single rosette showing horned fruits and the inflated leaf petioles which enables the rosette to float
Alfred Cofrancesco, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Flower(s);
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Plant(s); Floating rosettes
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Plant(s);
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Fruit(s);
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Fruit(s);
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Plant(s); Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. Illustrated flora of the northern states and Canada. Vol. 2: 612.
USDA PLANTS Database, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

Fruit(s);
Steve Hurst, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, Bugwood.org
Additional Resolutions & Image Usage

EDDMapS Distribution:
This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts and records obtained from USDA Plants Database. For more information, visit www.eddmaps.org
 


State(s) Where Reported invasive.
Based on state level agency and organization lists of invasive plants from WeedUS database.

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U.S. National Parks where reported invasive:
Colonial National Historical Park (Virginia)



Invasive Listing Sources:
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, 1994.
Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group
Delaware Natural Resources and Environmental Control, 2004
Faith Campbell, 1998
Hoffman, R. & K. Kearns, Eds. 1997. Wisconsin manual of control recommendations for ecologically invasive plants. Wisconsin Dept. Natural Resources, Bureau of Endangered Resources. Madison, Wisconsin. 102pp.
Invasive Plant Council of New York State
Jil M. Swearingen, Survey of invasive plants occurring on National Park Service lands, 2000-2007
John Randall, The Nature Conservancy, Survey of TNC Preserves, 1995.
Maryland Department of Natural Resources, 1994
Mid-Atlantic Exotic Pest Plant Council, 2005
National  Wildlife Refuge Association, Silent Invasion: A Call to Action from the National Wildlife Refuge Association, 2002. Washington DC. 17 pp.
New Hampshire Invasive Species Committee. 2005. Guide to Invasive Upland Plant Species in New Hampshire. New Hampshire Department of Agriculture,  Markets and Food Plant Industry Division and New Hampshire Invasive Species Committee.
Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, 2009