Invasive yellow floating heart successfully eradicated from two Southeast Michigan locations

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December 12, 2019

Contact Tom Alwin, 517-342-4069 or Joanne Foreman, 517-284-5814

Invasive yellow floating heart successfully eradicated from two Southeast Michigan locations

The State of Michigan’s Early Detection and Response Initiative has successfully eradicated two known infestations of yellow floating heart, an aquatic invasive plant that is harmful to Michigan’s water resources.

Yellow floating heart in pond

Yellow floating heart was first detected in 2015 in the reflection pond at the Clara Ford Rose Garden in Dearborn. A second, smaller infestation was found in a small pond at the Red Oaks Nature Center in Madison Heights in 2016. Following manual removal of the plants in 2016, no yellow floating heart plants have been observed at either site during monitoring efforts in 2017, 2018 and 2019. An invasive plant is considered eradicated when a site is free of the species for three consecutive years.

Successful eradication, in these cases, was the result of partnerships and site conditions. Effective collaboration between the State of Michigan and staff at the University of Michigan - Dearborn and Red Oaks Nature Center led to the removal of over 1,000 pounds of yellow floating heart from the two sites. Additionally, both sites are small, artificial waterbodies not connected to other waterways, which kept the plant from spreading and reduced management and monitoring costs.

Eight additional yellow floating heart infestations have been found in Michigan over the last three years, including five sites in Kent County and one site each in Ottawa, Allegan and Ingham counties, and each is being managed with the goal of eradication.

Yellow floating heart illustration

Yellow floating heart is a rooted aquatic plant with floating leaves that are heart-shaped to almost round. It is often identified by its distinctive, yellow flower with five fringed petals. Because of its potential to form dense mats that shade out native plants and impact boating, fishing, and swimming, yellow floating heart is a prohibited species in the state, making it illegal to buy, sell, or possess.

Yellow floating heart is also on Michigan’s watch list, which includes plants and animals identified as posing an immediate or potential threat to Michigan's economy, environment, or human health. These species either have never been confirmed in the wild in Michigan or have a limited known distribution.

Michigan’s Early Detection and Response Initiative relies heavily on citizen reports of invasive species on Michigan’s watch list. Watch this short MI EnviroMINUTE video for tips on how to identify yellow floating heart. If you see this plant or any other aquatic watch list species, report sightings to

Yellow floating heart removal

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy’s Water Resources Division leads the invasive aquatic plant Early Detection and Response Initiative in collaboration with the Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Natural Features Inventory, and Michigan State University Extension.

The initiative’s goals are to prevent the establishment and spread of invasive aquatic plants on Michigan’s watch list and pursue local eradication when possible and practical. These actions are guided by the state’s Response Plan for Aquatic Invasive Species in Michigan. Funding for the initiative comes from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and State of Michigan general funds. For more information on invasive species in Michigan visit

Michigan's Invasive Species Program is cooperatively implemented by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy; the Department of Natural Resources; and the Department of Agriculture & Rural Development.

/Note to editors: Accompanying photos are available below for download. Caption information follows.

Plant: Yellow floating heart has heart-shaped to round leaves and distinctive, yellow flowers. Illustration by Bruce Kerr.

YFH removal: Staff from the West Michigan CISMA remove yellow floating heart from a pond in Kent County.  Photo courtesy of West Michigan CISMA.

YFH pond: Yellow floating heart can form dense mats on the water's surface.

YFH flower: Flowers have five petals with a distinctive fringe on the edges./ 

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