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Pretty flowers turn Kerala river pink, but at a heavy cost!2 min read

December 27, 2020 2 min read

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Pretty flowers turn Kerala river pink, but at a heavy cost!2 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Nature is truly the best artist around – green leaves, bright coloured birds, flowers in every hue, you name it! In another stunning display of its magic, flowers named Forked Fanworts, or Red Cabomba, covered a river in Kerala, turning it pink.

A bed of pink covers this Kerala river. Photo: Down To Earth

Tourists flocked to Avalappandi Canal in Cheruvannur to catch a glimpse of the ‘pink river’. Normally, the area doesn’t get much footfall, but this sight brought people from near and far.

However, despite its beauty, there is another, rather disappointing, side to this story. This aquatic plant is an invasive, alien species, and is the second biggest cause for loss of biodiversity, say experts.

Owliver’s Obscure Facts

An invasive species is most often a non-native species that spreads from a point of introduction and negatively alters its new environment.

The underwater, perennial plant grows in stagnant to slow flowing freshwater such as ponds, rivers and reservoirs, and is native to Central and South America. It is seen widely used in the aquarium industry due to its vibrant flowers, which has led to it being introduced to regions outside of its native area.

Experts say the species has entered this water body accidentally, and is harmful to the other life forms there. With no natural enemies, it can reproduce quick too! This, experts say, can lead to the loss of important flora and flora.

The flowers sure are pretty, but these plants are harmful to the environment. Photo: Wikipedia

The Cabomba invasion has become a major threat to the freshwater bodies of Kerala. It is even taking a toll on the state’s finances, as it impacts the yield of freshwater fish.

What is the solution?

Researchers say the plant has to be mechanically removed from the waterbody and dried in terrestrial spaces to curb its growth.

They say strict rules must be implemented to prevent its spread. People should stop collecting and transporting the plant and ensure that it is not disposed of inappropriately. So the next time you come across this species, admire its beauty for a few minutes, but be sure that local authorities are informed of its spread.

Sources: The New Indian Express, Hindustan Times