This relative of the water lily appeared a few years ago in a quiet corner of Lake Cheston. The small yellow flowers, standing five or six inches above the floating heart-shaped leaves attract attention and have garnered their fair share of compliments. Trouble is, this is an invasive exotic, and the population has grown to fill the inlet where it got started and is now pushing out into the main part of the reservoir.
Floating hearts is of Mediterranean origin, and it is sold in nurseries for water gardens. Who’s to say how it got its start in Lake Cheston? It reproduces by seeds, and the leaves, if broken off with some stem attached, can produce roots and take off from there. The plant covers the water with a solid layer of leaves, cutting off all light to and decreasing the oxygen content of the water beneath. If you’re headed to Lake Cheston to swim, boat, or fish, you won’t have any luck around this plant.