Water chestnuts, your days are numbered

Eurasian water chestnutEurasian water chestnut. Photo via the Rhode Island Natural History Survey.

The town of Esopus has fixed its brand-new water-chestnut-harvesting machine, and is ready to play grim reaper to the ever-present invasive plant that chokes the shallow waters of the Hudson. According to the Daily Freeman, Esopus town supervisor John Coutant really, really doesn't like the Eurasian water chestnut:

The machine can cut 30,000 pounds of water chestnuts in 30 minutes covering an area 17 feet wide area and 300 feet long.

“They are the little black pods that you see with the sharp point that, if you step on (them, you) will puncture your foot and are nothing more than a pain in the neck,” Coutant said.

“They rot and they smell like rotten garbage,” he said. “If they are left to dry out somewhere, the smell of them is pretty terrible.”

Coutant isn't alone in his hatred of the black-seedpod scourge. Mike Risinit, blogging on The Nature of Things at The Journal News' LoHud.com website, wrote about them in 2008:

They look like some miniature Stars-Wars-villain spaceship: a somewhat triangular-shaped pod with three black spikes. Such are the seeds of Eurasian water chestnut. Eurasian water chestnut clogs parts of the Hudson River and is on the state’s most-wanted aquatic invasive-plant list. And the seed pods are seemingly everywhere, washed up on the river’s shore.