Common Water Hyacinth
Eichhornia crassipes
Pontederiaceae (Pickerelweed) Family

Water Hyacinth is an upright, aquatic colonial perennial that sends out long roots (stolons) that produce new growth. The stem base is swollen. Its preferred habitat is lakes, fresh water marshes or ditches. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.

The leaves are in a rosette arrangement; usually widest at the center; occasionally orb-like; no teeth and no lobes; rounded at the tip.

The flowers are a tall spike; nearly symmetrical in form; bisexual in nature. The sepals and petals are similar; light to dark blue. Flowers occur in the summer.

Fruit is a capsule.

Water Hyacinth is an introduced tropical plant which spreads rapidly, clogging waterways where it gets a toe-hold. Its most redeeming value is that it can remove excessive
impurities from stagnant ponds and turns bad water into wholesome drinking quality. In so doing; however, it takes over and leaves little room for other plant life. It is known to remove heavy metals and other toxins from polluted water. Research is currently underway to test whether it can remove atomic waste from contaminated streams.

Photo courtesy Steve Coppersmith

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