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Growth and photosynthesis of four invasive aquatic plant species in Europe


Andreas Hussner, Institut für Biochemie der Pflanzen, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Universitätsstraße 1, D-40225 Düsseldorf, Germany. Tel: (+49) 211 8113430; Fax: (+49) 211 8113706; E-mail:


Crassula helmsii, Hydrocotyle ranunculoides, Ludwigia grandiflora and Myriophyllum aquaticum are four well known invasive aquatic plants in European waters. In this study, plant growth at different nutrient availabilities, regeneration capacity and photosynthesis were investigated. Results show high relative growth rates (RGR) of the species of up to 0.132 ± 0.008 g g−1 dry weight (dw) day−1 (H. ranunculoides) and a significant increase in RGR with increasing nutrient availability. All species show a high regeneration capacity and the ability to form new shoots from single nodes, even though it differs between the species. Ludwigia grandiflora and M. aquaticum also show regeneration from single leaves. Species differed in maximal amounts, and in temperature and light optima of net assimilation rates: H. ranunculoides leaves reach maximum photosynthetic rates of up to 3500 μmol CO2 × h−1 g−1 dw, L. grandiflora (leaves) up to 2200 μmol CO2 × h−1 g−1 dw, M. aquaticum (shoots) 400 μmol CO2 × h−1 g−1 dw and C. helmsii (shoots) up to 200 μmol CO2 × h−1 g−1 dw. Hydrocotyle ranunculoides, L. grandiflora and M. aquaticum preferred high light intensity and high temperatures, whilst C. helmsii was negatively affected by intense sunlight. Summarising, it can be assumed that at least H. ranunculoides, L. grandiflora and M. aquaticum can grow well under current and likely future central European climate conditions.