Invasive Plants

Salvinia molesta

Giant Salvinia
Not Evaluated
Peninsular Malaysia Plant Red List *
* Assessed according to the IUCN Red List Categories & Criteria Version 3.1
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SSN 29674
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The taxonomic status is pending for approval


Salvinia molesta, also known as giant salvinia or kiambang kecil in Malay is a species of aquatic fern floating on the water surface. In 1972, it was renamed as S. molesta from its original identification as a form of S. auriculata based on its fruiting bodies (Mitchell, 1972). This fern undergoes three growth stages (Julien et al., 2009) and does not produce flowers (Rice, 1998). It can grow up to 20 cm long. The two types leaves (fronds), buoyant and submerged  are arranged along the stem, from light-green to medium green colour, with brownish edges when mature, and also with a distinctive fold in the center. The buoyancy of the plant in water is due to its cage-like structure of the end hairs (Sota, 1962; Mitchell et al., 1972; Forno, 1983).

Salvinia molesta is commonly found in stagnant or slow-moving waters such as lakes, slow-flowing rivers or streams, wetlands, rice paddies, irrigation channels, ditches, ponds and canals (EPPO, 2016). It has a very high rate of reproduction and can reduce access to the water for recreation. This species can be found in tropical, sub-tropical or warm temperate areas of the world and become an extremely invasive species in many regions.


Year Published Assessment Red List Category Version
2010 Peninsular Malaysia Plant Red List
Not Evaluated (NE)


by State Location
  • Selangor 1
Based on publications, specimens, and images


  1. Allen, D.J., Smith, K.G. & Darwall, W.R.T. (2012). The Status and Distribution of Freshwater Biodiversity in Indo-Burma. , 158 — [ Adobe PDF (PDF) ]
  2. Bakar, B.B. (2004). Invasive Weed Species in Malaysian Agro-Ecosystems: Species, Impacts and Management. Malaysian Journal of Science 23 (1), 1-42
  1. Action Plan for Aquatic Invasive Alien Species in Malaysia, 2007. Marine Fishery Resources Development and Management Department , Malaysia. pp. 1-53.
  2. Invasive Alien Species in Malaysia, 2018. National Committee on Invasive Alien Species Malaysia, Malaysia. pp. 113. — [ Adobe PDF (PDF) ]
  3. National Action Plan on Invasive Alien Species 2021-2025, 2021. Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry & Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, Malaysia. pp. 84. — [ Adobe PDF (PDF) ]
  4. The Nexus of Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Socioeconomic Development in Southeast Asia, 2022. Academy of Sciences Malaysia.
  5. Akashah, M., Maimon, A., Norhayati, A., Noordin, N. & Nurliyana, A.R., Biodiversity in an urban ecosystem: Putrajaya Lake and Wetland. Perbadanan Putrajaya. pp. 185.
  6. Go, R. (2013). Paya Indah Wetlands : The Array of Plant Life. Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE), Malaysia. pp. 100.
  7. Jamilah, M.S. & Faridah, M. (2011). A Biological Assessment of Jambu Bongkok Forest Reserve, Terengganu and Nearby Ecosystem. Penerbit UMT, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Malaysia. pp. 1-84.
  8. Noraini, T., Ruzi, A.R., Jaman, R. & Latiff, A. (2008). Ferns and Fern-allies: Taman Paku Pakis UKM, Volume 1. Fakulti Sains dan Teknologi, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Malaysia. pp. 63.
  9. Piggott, A.G. (1988). Ferns of Malaysia in Colour. Tropical Press Sdn. Bhd., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. pp. 458.
  10. Saw, L.G., Chua, L.S.L. & Nik, A.R. (2009). Malaysia: National Strategy for Plant Conservation. Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM), Malaysia. pp. 61. — [ Adobe PDF (PDF) ]
Chapter in book
  1. Ahmad, A., Fahmi-Ahmad, M. & Johari, M.N. (2011). Freshwater Fishes of Jambu Bongkok Forest Reserve, Terengganu, Peninsular Malaysia. In Jamilah, M.S. & Faridah, M. (Eds.), A Biological Assessment of Jambu Bongkok Forest Reserve, Terengganu and Nearby Ecosystem. Penerbit UMT, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu. pp. 31-43.

Acknowledgements :- Ms. Ajla Rafidah Baharom, Mr. Badrul Amin Bin Jaffar, Ms. Kamilia Huda Binti Mohd Zaini, Ms. Noor Zahidah Binti Ahmad Sobri, Ms. Norazah Binti Norddin, Mrs. Nurfarhana Hizan Binti Hijas, Mr. Tan Kok Kiat & Mr. Yasser Mohamed Arifin

Photo credit :- Nurfarhana Hizan & Tan Kok Kiat

Species Citation :- Salvinia molesta. Malaysia Biodiversity Information System (MyBIS). Accessed via [Retrieved 24 April 2024].

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