This weed has spread along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States. It grows in both aquatic and wetland ecosystems. Through stem fragments, the plant can disperse through waterways and reproduce itself from shooting roots out of its stems.
The plant forms vine-like mats in waterways and in wetlands. The vines can grow out 3'. Aquatic forms of the plant have hollow stems; terrestrial forms have denser stems. Oblong leaves grow oppositely along the stems and are up to 4" long. In summer, small, white flowers grow at the point where the leaves meet the stem; flowers are reminiscent of clover.
Fact Sheet: Alligatorweed
Photo credits: Flower: Gary Buckingham, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org;
Mat: James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org