Water hyacinth

(Eichornia crassipes)

Impacts:

Water hyacinth plants are fast spreaders.  The United States spends millions of dollars on management of this plant.  This plant creates dense mats that clog waterways which makes almost all water activities impossible.  These mats also block other plants from doing photosynthesis which reduces oxygen levels in the water.

Identification:

Water hyacinth is a floating plant with round to oval, shiny green leaves.  The leaves are upright.  The leaf stalk is thick and spongy which helps it float.  A mass of fine roots hang in the water underneath the plant.  It has large blueish purple flowers with a yellow spot.  It reproduces by seed and vegetatively.  A single plant can produce up to 5,000 seeds.  In one study two plants produced 1,200 daughter plants in four months.  It is native to South America.

There are some gardeners who grow this plant in their water gardens.  To our knowledge it has not escaped.  Please report it if you see this plant.

Prevention:

Never dispose of water garden plants in another water body.  Dispose of them on dry land away from water or compost the plants.  Be cautious when sharing plants with friends.  Report any possible infestations. 

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Water Hyacinth