Q: I found these water plants in a creek close to my house. I have never seen these plants there before. What are they and where would they come from? The stream winds thru the backyards of houses in a couple of subdivisions.
A: It’s water lettuce, a tropical plant often used in backyard water features. Like water hyacinth, which has clogged canals and streams throughout Florida, water lettuce can be a big problem in the wrong spot. However, water lettuce and water hyacinth are both unable to survive winter freezes in Atlanta.
My guess is that someone released the plants from their pond earlier in the summer and they’ve started growing in your creek. They will be gone next year.
It is important to recognize how ornamental plants can be invasive enemies if they reproduce rapidly. We have only to look as far as kudzu and Chinese privet to see my point!