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Amazon frogbit (Limnobium laevigotum) has been declared a Class C (not to be introduced) weed under the Weeds Management Act.
It is now illegal to grow, trade, import, sell or transport this plant species in the Northern Territory, and any known existing plants must be destroyed.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Weed Management Branch policy and planning manager, Belinda Townend, said Amazon frogbit has the potential to spread quickly and devastate Top End waterways.
Ms Townend urged Territorians to be vigilant when purchasing freshwater aquarium plants online.
“Amazon frogbit is a floating aquatic plant, native to Central and South America,” Ms Townend said.
“It was imported to Australia as an ornamental aquarium plant and now poses a serious threat to aquatic environments due to its explosive rate of spread.
“Amazon frogbit is a declared weed in New South Wales and was recently found in waterways near Atherton in Queensland - the last thing we want is for it to cross our borders and enter our waters.
“Amazon frogbit resembles large duckweed and can be mistaken for water hyacinth.
“It grows in rosettes of floating leaves that send out runners producing juvenile spongy leaves.
“A large mat of runners and leaves can develop very quickly, smothering waterways with a similar impact to that of salvinia in the Top End.”
Anyone owning or possessing Amazon frogbit is urged to call the Weed Management Branch on 89994567 to organise appropriate removal.
“All calls will be treated confidentially and at this stage we won’t be fining or prosecuting people,” Ms Townend said.
“Our top priority is keeping our environment free of this noxious weed and making sure it is disposed of properly.
“Disposing of declared weeds into any waterways is illegal and can wreak havoc on the natural eco-systems.”
Go to www.nt.gov.au/weeds for more information.
Last updated: 16 January 2018