Brazilian Elodea

Brazilian Elodea

Egeria densa
Photo credit: Barry Rice,,

Status in Squamish:


Status in Whistler:


Status in Pemberton:

Vectors of Spread:

Brazillian waterweed, Leafy elodea

ID Characteristics

General: Brazilian Elodea is a freshwater aquatic perennial plant.

Flowers: Small with three white petals that are found above the water.

Stem: Are delicate and break easily. Stems can grow form 10 – 90 cm until they reach the surface of the water.

Leaves: Are bright green, lance-shaped and minutely serrated. Leaves are 1 – 3 cm long and arranged in whorls of 3 – 6 along the stem.

Fruit: When pollinated, Brazilian Elodea produces 7 – 8 mm long oval berries with membranous and transparent skin.

Roots: Are filament-like and found at the base of plants or on some plant nodes.

Similar Species

Rob Routledge, Sault College,

Canada Waterweed (Elodea canadensis) has 3 smooth leaves in a whorl; each leaf is 1.5 cm long (smaller than Brazilian Elodea leaves).







Cleveland Metroparks,

Hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata) has prickly hairs on the underside of its leaves, and the leaves form in a whorl of 3 – 8.


Please report any sighting of Brazilian Elodea by clicking here.

Habitat and Origin

Brazilian Elodea is originally from South America, and was introduced to North America through the aquarium trade as a oxygenator and decorative plant for aquariums.

It is found in freshwater lakes, rivers or other shallow and still/slow moving water. It thrives in water temperatures of 15 – 17°C and tolerates shade.

Current Distribution

Propagation & Vectors of Spread

Brazilian Elodea reproduces primarily vegetatively from stem fragments. It has nodes along the stem that can produce new buds, roots and branches. The plant is dioecious (with male and female plants) and can be pollinated by insects. However, only male plants have been found in North America thus far, so sexual reproduction is not believed to be possible for Brazilian Elodea in Canada.

The plant is imported and sold in aquarium shops and may be improperly disposed of into water bodies. Brazilian Elodea can travel short distances with water currents; the plant parts can also attach to boats and be transported long distances.

Ecological, Economic, & Health Impacts


  • Forms dense mats that restrict water movement, affecting water quality and crowding out native plants.
  • Alters hydrology and can change and deplete oxygen levels at night, which can kill fish.
  • Blocks watercourses which can impact fish migration.


  • Dense infestations can affect recreation activities such as fishing, swimming or boating.
  • Disrupts hydroelectric operations.
What Can I Do?

Brazilian Elodea is NOT currently found in the Sea to Sky Corridor, so the best approach to controlling its spread is by PREVENTION.

Learn to identify Brazilian Elodea: use the images presented in this profile page to learn how to identify Brazilian Elodea.

What to do if you spot it: You can report any Brazilian Elodea sighting by clicking here.



  • Clean, Drain, and Dry all watercraft. Rinse all mud, debris, and plant fragments from all equipment, wading gear, and boats.
  • Ensure all plant parts are bagged and covered during transport to the designated disposal site (e.g. landfill).


  • Do not transport Brazilian Elodea from one location to another.
  • Do not plant Eurasian Watermilfoil in an aquarium or water garden.
  • Do not dispose of aquarium plants into water bodies.
  • Do NOT compost Brazilian Elodea!



Cutting, hand pulling and netting can be used on small infestations as a short-term solution, but they are not effective long-term because the plant will quickly re-establish from any remaining fragments and roots.


Herbicides cannot be applied in aquatic environments in Canada. Herbicide control is not recommended for this species.


There are a few case studies of biological control being used on Brazilian Elodea in other countries, but the data is limited. One study in Spain shows that effective growth control could be achieved by letting Peking ducks feed on the plant, but it was not enough to eradicate it