Common water hyacinth is a floating perennial and a member of he pickerelweed family, Pontederiaceae, a small family of 34 species of tropical and subtropical aquatic plants. It is native to the Amazon River Basin where it grows it wet habitats but was introduced into the US in 1884 at the World’s Fair in New Orleans by a group of Japanese people who gave out the plants as gifts, and is now invasive from North Carolina and Missouri, south to Florida and Texas, west to Arizona and California. Plants grow in fresh water and vary in size from a few inches to over 3′ tall. They have dark purplish to black feathery roots and are often joined to mother plants by floating stolons. The glossy, leathery leaves form a rosette and are rounded to broadly elliptic, 6″ wide, and carried on spongy 12″ long petioles. In summer, eight to fifteen showy flowers are appear above the leaves in a 12″ long spike. Each flower has 6 lavender-blue petals, the uppermost one with a yellow blotch. The fruit is a 3 celled capsule with many seeds. Common water hyacinth reproduces rapidly by seed and vegetative means and can become a major problem in lakes and rivers by replacing native vegetation and clogging waterways. The genus name Eichornia, honor Johann Albrect Friedrich Eichorn (1779-1856) Prussian minister of education and public welfare. The specific epithet, crassipes, comes from the Latin words, crassus meaning thick, and pes meaning foot, and refers to the thick stem.

Type: Aquatic tender perennial

Bloom: Spike of lavender flowers

Size: Up to 3′ H

Light: Full sun, part shade

Soil: Water

Hardiness: Zones 9-11

Care: Plant in restricted area and take care not to accidentally transport any part of the plant to a new location; remove decaying plant material as it appears,

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Vegetative means, seed

Companion Plants: Water lily, lotus, water poppy, pond lily, yellow snowflake

Photo Credit: Wikipedia


By Karen