Water Chestnuts: Overview
Explorations of a Nemesis
Aesthetic and imaginative interpretations in ceramic of the water chestnut, an invasive species of the northeastern United States.
*Barb: Don Seymour
**All others: Karen Jean Smith
Some basic facts:
- The Latin name for water chestnuts is “Trapa natans.”
- Different varieties of traps nations can be found in Europe, Asia and the northern countries of Africa.
- The European water chestnut was introduced to the United States in the mid 19th century.
- In the United States it is considered an invasive species and has no natural predators.
- One nut can produce several rosettes, which can then produce up to 20 seeds apiece.
- Mature nuts are released from the plants and sink to the water bottom where they can remain viable for up to 12 years.
- Each nut has four sharp barbed points.
- The rapid growth of water chestnuts inhibits the ecology of the area as well as recreation and economic activity.
- Populations can be reduced through the use of herbicides, mechanical harvesters, and pulling or dredging by hand. Pulling by hand is the least damaging to the environment.
- Water chestnuts have been found in New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Vermont, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Quebec.
- Control can be very expensive. Over the past 20 years, 2.8 million dollars has been spent in the Chesapeake Bay area alone.
Source: Eyres, Willow, June 2009.Water Chestnut Infestation in the Susquehanna Watershed, Occasional Paper No. 44, State University of New York, College at Oneonta