The Spread of the Invasive Yellow Floating Heart: There’s a growth in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza

By Lucia Gastiazoro and Sacha Fleury-Allen
Elementary Category (Grades 4-6)
Experiment | Biology

Twenty years ago, a family on Seymour Lake, located near Smithers, BC, decided to plant an ornamental lily pad called the Yellow Floating Heart (Nymphoides peltata) in the lake in front of their house and it quickly became invasive. Since then the Seymour Lake Conservation Society has been trying to eradicate the plant or at least, limit its spread. This has been done by hiring summer students who were initially advised to cut the top 30cm of the Yellow Floating Heart. We designed an experiment that would help indicate which part of the plant is reproducing and in which substrate it grows best with the aim to inform the Seymour Lake Conservation society on how to minimize its reproduction. Out of 60 samples, six had growth with the stolons and stems showing the most growth. We were surprised that none of the buckets with flowers grew. Our results also indicate that the lake substrate was the most fertile. We were also surprised that there was growth in gravel even if it was only in one instance.

Our results suggest that we can tell the Seymour Lake Conservation Society that if they are hiring summer students again to cut the plant, they should cut all the way down to the stem and stolon, not just the top 30 cm.

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