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European Frog-bit

Photo by Meghan Johnstone, APIPP

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Common Name: European frog-bit
Scientific Name: Hydrocharis morsus-ranae
Origin: Europe


European frog-bit is a free-floating, short-lived perennial. The leaves are leathery and round with undersides that may be dark purple. Flowers are white with yellow centers, and bloom in the summer. The leaf stem of european frog-bit lacks a mid-line groove which distinguishes it from its native look-alike, american frog-bit, Limnobium spongia.


This plant grows well in slow moving or stagnant open water, including marshes, ditches, swamps and sheltered coves.


European frog-bit quickly forms dense mats, which crowds out native plants, limits light penetration and can inhibit recreational use.


Limited information exists on control techniques for this species. Hand pulling may be suitable to control individual plants or small infestations.

Regional Distribution

Locally Common

WNY PRISM Priority

Tier 4 – Local Control

Invasive Species Priorities – Tier Chart


European frog-bit was accidentally introduced to Lake Superior in 1972. Plant fragments and seeds are spread by boats and wildlife.


European frog-bit is a prohibited species in New York State – for more information on Prohibited and Regulated Species, visit

Native Alternatives

White water lily (Nymphaea odorata)

Long-leaf pondweed (Potamogeton nodosus)

Great duckweed (Spirodela polyrhiza)