Hernando County lists both aquatic and terrestrial prohibited plants in addition to adhering to the Florida State list of prohibited and invasive non-native plants. Hernando County Mosquito Control handles prohibited plants found on county property and assists residents with eradicating plants found on private property.
Hernando County Aquatic Weed List
Hernando County Mosquito Control's list of aquatic invasives most often dealt with consists of duckweed, water lily, water lettuce, water-hyacinth, cattails and hydrilla.
Duckweed spreads quickly over still water and can cause "fish kills and oxygen deletion." Identify duckweed by its extremely small size and light green color.
Water lilies produce a round floating leaf and a white or yellow flower that also floats on the surface.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) issued a water-lettuce Weed Alert due to the extremely fast spreading nature of this plant. Water-lettuce multiplies rapidly and forms a dense water cover limiting navigation of infested waterways and killing native plant species.
The FDEP also issued a Weed Alert for water-hyacinth declaring it a "major weed species in more than 50 countries." With a growth rate "among the highest of any known plant," The water-hyacinth also inhibits navigation of infested waterways and kills native plant species by covering the water.
Although native to Florida, cattails frequently spread quickly and clog waterways. Cattails reach 9 feet high and produce a stalk with a foot-long puffy brown "tail."
Hydrilla's ability to travel from one waterway to another by wrapping around propellers and getting attached to boats causes particular concern. Proper cleaning between boat trips greatly reduces this contamination.
Hernando County Highland Invasive Weed List
The Brazilian pepper, considered "a particular nuisance to our county," tops the list of "extremely invasive" plants and must be eradicated and reported to Mosquito Control if located on county property or to Code Enforcement if located on private property.
The air potato vine forms a heavy blanket over native plants and trees, shutting off sunshine to the plants. Because of its very efficient reproductive nature, the air potato vine is difficult to eradicate once established in an area.
The skunk vine also blankets trees and other plants, killing them. Identify this thornless vine by its foul smell.
The FDEP issued a Weed Alert for cogon grass, listing it as "one of the top 10 worst weeds in the world." Cogon grass chokes out native grasses and is considered a "volatile fuel," increasing fire threat to areas that it invades. Identify cogon grass by the off center vein running up the leaf.
The fast spreading tropical soda apple produces vegetation "unpalatable to livestock." Identify it by its thorny stems and yellow fruit.
Florida Prohibited Plants
According to the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council's 2003 List of Invasive Species, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection prohibits certain plants. The prohibited plants fall into either Category I or Category II based on ecological impact.
The State of Florida defines Category I as "Invasive exotics that are altering native plant communities by displacing native species, changing community structures or ecological functions, or hybridizing with natives." Florida prohibited Category I plants consist of Australian pine (Casuarina equisetifolia), suckering Australian pine, water-hyacinth, hydrilla, green hygro, water-spinach, melaleuca or paper bark, catclaw mimosa, water-lettuce and Brazilian pepper.
The State of Florida defines Category II as "Invasive exotics that have increased in abundance or frequency but have not yet altered Florida plant communities to the extent shown by Category I species." Florida prohibited Category II plants consist of alligator weed, Australian pine (Casuarina cunninghamian), shrub morning-glory, Asian marshweed, Eurasian water-milfoil, and susumber or turkey berry.