Plants to be aware of.... at least in the USA - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-28-2007, 04:16 PM
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Sorry, CAF! My post was an answer to the "should we ban them on the site" question. I should have mentioned that. *blush* I'm all for a list being here ~ it might help people remember to be responsible.

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post #17 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-28-2007, 07:16 PM
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Well folks, here is the official declaration from the USDA on this issue. Its a bit long, but I hope all get something out of this (at least from an awareness stance).

7CFR319.37 is the authority for restricting plant imports into the USA.
The laws were originally written to protect agriculture. In the late
1800 the interest of growing plants was for food and fiber. Sorry but
the interests of plant hobbyists was not on the horizon when the laws
were written. Up until the late 1950s a majority of the plant imports
were conducted b Agricultural Research Service-ARS, again interest in
Horticulture and hobbies were not on the radar screen. I guess most
folks were focused on the cold war and having vast expanses of monolawn.

In the late 70's imports began to change, the percentage of individuals
who were plant collectors jumped to the point that by the 80's and 90's
a vast amount of new plant material was introduced into the USA. the
regulation 7 CFR319.37 was last updated in 1979 at the beginning of the
wave of new imports.

About this time the inexpensive and ability of individuals to get on a
plane from one exotic location and be in the USA the next was
unimaginable in prior world history. The consequences was a mass influx
of plant material in the USA from the late 80s to present.

The regulations are a balance between allowing anything into the USA and
protecting the interests of those that are affected. Yes sometimes it
seems political but we try to keep things on a scientific basis overall.
I don't think we have an agenda and the conspiracy theory is probably
left to the area of the X-files.

Aquatic plants. Overall this has been left to the States to lay a claim
on the regulations. Federal laws come into effect when the plant becomes
adapted to more that one state and has the potential to cause
environmental or commercial impact.

Yes, some plants have been introduced that now are causing more harm
than intended. We can probably blame those that thought it was a good
idea, but I can assure you that all of the introductions were based on
what -at the time they thought was a good idea. Overall, we do not know
what will cause a problem until after the problem exists. We still lack
the ability to predict the future and nature is a force that no one has
managed to control yet.

We do try to balance the interests of the individual, commercial and
naturalist. All three groups have vested interest and we try to be
flexible in the rulemaking process the best we can.


As far as your questions:
Is this still regulated by the intent of the Plant Protection Act?

Yes, The PPA has a fairly broad regulatory authority. As it states the
import and prodigy, so generations after the initial import can be
regulated if the Secretary of Agriculture deems it so. It is really a
great piece of legislature to help protect USA from alien invasive

How does the sale or trade of these species, within the context of the hobby, reside?

The actual import is regulated to exclude FNWs from entering the USA,
but this does not prevent individuals who believe they know better or
are exempt from regulations from smuggling or obfuscating the identity
with the intent to by pass the FNW law. The reason that the plants are
prohibited is the ability of the plants to establish in the natural
ecosystem successfully and cause significant problems where the
taxpayers pay for the cleanup. Granted in a contained environment like
an aquarium it's not a problem, but just like people who choose to
smuggle because they can or want to, there are people that distribute
the plants out of ignorance or spite which cause ecological problems.

There are plants which are "grandfather'd" into the country because they
may have been here prior to the FNW laws of 2002. The problem is moving
the FNWs across State lines. At least 5 aquatic plants were commonly
found in trade USDA tried to have a liberal approach to the regulations,
leaving the requirements to the individual states to decide. There have
been problems and currently lacking a permit to move interstate, If
caught, then this can become a legal issue. There are fines and having
to deal with the legal issues for an individual to hire a lawyer and all
of those complications can make the regulation process messy for

We do have officers who are agricultural antismuggling official - they
visit aquarium stores and look at the chat rooms and focus on FNW
distribution across state lines. But in all honesty we do not conduct
individual raids on home hobbyists to inspect aquariums looking for

The next major issue would be, if someone does have one of these listed
species, what is the proper course of action?

The reason why FNWs are a problem is the ability of the plant to grow
well and multiply quickly, if a home hobbyist has a FNW in a collection,
be conscious about destruction of unwanted plant material. Make sure
it's rendered incapable of propagation before it leaves your home.
Hobbyist who enjoy ecosystems should be aware of natural systems and the problems of introduction of an alien species that can out compete and
create domination issues in a balanced system.

Can they continue to hold these species?

The problem is when the plant material is no longer wanted. Again we are
not conducting home raids, but selling, transferring even giving away
FNWs is breaking the law and not being a good steward of the natural
system that we live in. One person's cool aquarium plant can be a
boater's nightmare, native fish habitat conflict, waste water management
issue, environmental impact disaster. I think people need to take more
responsibility for the areas the live in.

I have a small pond on my property in Maryland and I'd like to put in it
local fish, but the laws don't allow it because they are protected-
endangered. I can get western fish at the aquarium store but if they
escape they then add to the demise of local fish, this is a quandary. If
individuals realize that some of their "kept" pet plants were to get
established in the local waterways there could be impact. Do we, as
stewards of out own backyards want to be responsible for problems in the
environment that our neighbors will need to clean up?

I am not sure what you can gleam from all this but hopefully it's

There are ways for individuals to obtain foreign material legally,
anyone can apply for an import permit. Anyone can collect from the wild
as long as the host country does not mind or has authorized it. Everyone
must have a phytosanitary certificate from the exporting to import plant
material into the USA. Lots of 13 or more require that the material be
cleared through a USDA Plant Inspection Station. We are concerned about
the "Stuff" that may hitch hike with the plants. Eggs of large macro
pests. Snails. Spores of diseases this type of non desired plant
material additions.

Links for information:


Plant Imports:

William D. Aley
Senior Import Specialist,

Plants for Planting
Riverdale, MD,
Office (301) 734-8758,
Fax: (301) 734-3225

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post #18 of 28 (permalink) Old 12-18-2007, 02:35 PM
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FWIW......... The USDA has inspected my facility twice in the past six months looking for snails and plants.
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post #19 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-06-2008, 03:31 PM
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the link at the top hasnt been working so heres the link


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post #20 of 28 (permalink) Old 04-06-2008, 05:46 AM
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Can you send theese within the same state or is that illegal too?

Last edited by wyeto; 04-06-2008 at 06:24 PM.
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post #21 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 05:20 AM
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Hi folks! New here but just wanted to give my input on this one. I've done a bit of research lately on aquatic nuisance species and the laws regarding them, and I'd like to applaud you guys for creating awareness of this problem.

The plants listed above on the previous page are bound both by the Lacey Act, and Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990 (NANPCA).
Its not only illegal to import these plants, but its also illegal to transport them across state boundaries.

Some states in the US prohibit the transport, possession, sale, purchase, and or distribution of aquatic nuisance species, so check your local laws before buying any "noxious" plants. <-- has the Invasive Species Laws for each state.

Also, please think twice before trying to circumvent your local laws. Even if the destination is only your aquarium, these and other plants may have been banned in your state and others for a reason.

In general, I'd advise people not only to be responsible with the disposal of their aquarium plants, but also to consider not using "noxious" plants in their tanks. The less demand there is for them, the less of a market there'll be, and the less likely unaware people will chuck them into our lakes and ponds. Aquatic nuisance species really are a huge problem in this country and have negatively impacted the ecology of many of our water bodies in innumerable, sometimes irreparable ways.
These plants are particularly a problem because they generally have the ability to adapt easily to new environments, proliferate rapidly, and often end up out competing local native varieties for nutrients, space, and sunlight.
Some of them are great in aquariums, but wreak havoc on open water bodies.

While I'm generally not so blunt as to say that the sale of noxious plants should be prohibited on a forum like this, I'd definitely say that the sale of Caulerpa taxifolia should be. Caulerpa taxifolia is especially dangerous. It really is killer algae, and can grow up to a foot a day. C.taxifolia can completely take over a small ecosystem in a matter of weeks, and the only way to eliminate it is by *chlorinating* the entire infected area. Yep, chlorinating. Everything in the contained infected area dies with it.

So yeah, that's my little n00b input. I wish everyone luck with their tanks, and again, I'd strongly recommend staying away from noxious plants.
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post #22 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-27-2008, 09:43 PM
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Sorted by species name; tells you whether it's a Federal Noxious Weed and what states classify the species under what category.
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post #23 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-28-2008, 02:10 AM
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Originally Posted by epicfish View Post

Sorted by species name; tells you whether it's a Federal Noxious Weed and what states classify the species under what category.
You can tell that is a government run site. LOL. Vague and unorganized.

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post #24 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-28-2008, 04:51 AM
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Originally Posted by BiscuitSlayer View Post
You can tell that is a government run site. LOL. Vague and unorganized.
Is there any other way to run things?!
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post #25 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-16-2009, 09:47 AM
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You can tell that is a government run site. LOL. Vague and unorganized.
You can also tell by the ".gov" at the end of the URL.

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post #26 of 28 (permalink) Old 12-17-2009, 12:45 PM
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good info and write up, thanks for posting that.

Thanks, Joey. tanks-CUBE of different sizes.

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post #27 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-16-2011, 09:25 PM
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Fluorescent bulbs are also environmental hazards, why not just treat invasive plants the same way? teach people about proper disposal when they buy them, and hope they take it seriously? That's essentially what's done with fluorescent bulbs, and no-one is freaking out. I apparently just bought an invasive species and didn't even know it. I dry out and throw out extra plants I don't want anyways since I don't know if it could be invasive or not, but it would have been nice to know before I bought it that I could get in trouble for it, if it was illegal in my state(just checked, it isn't, not that I'm gonna throw it in a pond, but it's nice to know). I don't think I've broken any laws at this point, but I will have to be careful in the future. Anyways, just an idea.
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post #28 of 28 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 09:59 PM
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thank you for thee info. good to know.
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