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Texas Proposal Could Stop Trade in Dozens of Aquarium Plants

Posted: January 7, 2011, 5:50 p.m., EDT

Trade in at least 43 aquarium plant species and many water garden plants could be restricted in Texas if the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approves a proposal regulating possession of exotic aquatic plants at its meeting January 27
Many popular varieties of aquarium plants could be prohibited in Texas, including popular items like Cryptocoryne wendtii, several Echinodorus species, Hygrophila and Rotala rotundifolia.
Trade in at least 43 aquarium plant species and many water garden plants could be restricted in Texas if the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approves a proposal regulating possession of exotic aquatic plants at its meeting January 27.

The regulations, part of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s efforts to prevent the introduction of potentially invasive, non-native aquatic plants into the state’s ecosystem, create a “white list” of plants approved for sale in the state, effectively barring trade in those plants not listed. Moreover, some plants not on the approved list will also be placed on an “ineligible species list,” meaning that the department has determined those species pose a risk. Under the proposal, interested parties could petition the department to add plants to the approved list, unless they are already on the ineligible list.

“This new legislation will make it difficult for businesses to keep a good selection of aquarium plants in stock,” said Brandon McLane, vice president of grower Florida Aquatic Nurseries. “Many popular varieties of aquarium plants will soon be prohibited in the state. Bread and butter items like Cryptocoryne wendtii, Cyperus helferi, several Echinodorus species, almost all known species of Hygrophila, Rotala rotundifolia, Pogostem helferi and Vallisneria spiralis will be eliminated in Texas.”

The public meetings, all of which are to begin at 7 p.m., will take place in four cities before the commission’s Jan. 27 public meeting at the Texas Park and Wildlife Department’s Austin headquarters.

Austin -- Jan. 13 -- TPWD Headquarters (4200 Smith School Road)

Fort Worth -- Jan. 19 -- Cabela’s (12901 Cabela’s Drive)

Katy -- Jan. 11 -- Bass Pro Shop (5000 Katy Mills Circle)

San Antonio -- Jan. 18 -- Lions Field Adult Center (2809 Broadway St.)

McLane also noted that the law would place aquarium plant growers in Texas at a competitive disadvantage for the national market and that Texas hobbyists would be at a disadvantage at aquascaping events due to the limited variety—even though many of the affected plants have been kept for years and not been found to be invasive to Texas or any other state.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is now seeking public comment on the proposal.


See updated story:Texas Updates ‘White List’ of Aquatic Plants as Approval Vote Nears
“We believe this new approach is the most efficient way to prevent the introduction of invasive exotics into the ecosystem,” said Earl Chilton, the department’s exotic vegetation program manager. “Most folks want to do what’s right for the environment and knowing which exotic aquatics are acceptable will hopefully eliminate inadvertent introduction.”

Meanwhile, proponents of water gardening are rallying support to attend a series of public hearings in a bid to keep several aquatic plants legal in the state.

Those plants include elephant ears, Egyptian papyrus, water poppy, yellow snowflake, dwarf cattail, graceful cattail and variegated spider lily, all of which are currently on the ineligible list, as is Mexican petunia, which is not even an aquatic plant, according to Rolf Nelson, owner of Nelson Water Gardens & Nursery in Katy, Texas.

Nelson is urging interested parties to attend the hearings if possible and to contact state legislators to voice concerns before the commission votes on the proposal. The proposed rules can be viewed by clicking here. That website will also accept online comments.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This list has been updated. Click here to see the update list and story update.

Affected Aquarium Plants*
Ineligible Species List

1. Cardamine lyrata
2. Cryptocoryne becketti
3. Cryptocoryne wendtii
4. Cyperus helferi
5. Echinodorus grandiflorous
6. Gymnocoronis splilanthoides
7. Heteranthera zosterifolia (water stargrass)
8. Hydrocotyle leucocephala (water pennywort)
9. Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides
10. Hydrotriche hottoniflora
11. Hygrophila angustifolia
12. Hygrophila balsamica
13. Hygrophila corymbosa
14. Hygrophila difformis (water wisteria)
15. Hygrophila pinnatifida
16. Limnophila indica
17. Marsilea hirsuta
18. Marsilea quadrifolia
19. Potamogeton gayi
20. Rotala indica
21. Rotala rotundifolia
22. Syngonium podophyllum
23. Vallisneria asiatica

Not on Approved List (effectively banned pending risk assessment)

24. Ammania sengalensis
25. Cryptocoryne crispatula
26. Cryptocoryne lutea
27. Cryptocoryne usteriana
28. Cryptocoryne willissii
29. Echinodorus angustifolia
30. Echinodorus argentinensis
31. Echinodorus Osiris
32. Echinodorus parviflorus
33. Echinodorus quadricostatus

34. Eleocharis parvula
35. Fissidens fontinallis
36. Lysimachia nummularia
37. Myriophyllum pinnatum
38. Myriophyllum tuberculatum
39. Pogostemon helferi
40. Pogostemon stellata
41. Rotala nanjenshan
42. Vallisneria spiralis
43. Vesicularia dubyana (Java Moss)

• List compiled by Brandon McLane/Florida Aquatic Nurseries



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Texas Proposal Could Stop Trade in Dozens of Aquarium Plants

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Reader Comments
just read the article and I'm wondering what's going on w/ the water or
air some people must be inhaling!! With all the more serious threats to the enviroment,(if you are worried about envasive plant species),I don't
understand the "white list" for plants. Of all the Things that would kill a
hobby and put more jobs on the extinction list. Let's hear it,the bid on the market for cryptocoryne becketti & wendtii! Going once,going twice,sold to the gentleman in the corner!!!
elbert williams, aurora, CO
Posted: 1/10/2011 11:29:29 AM
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