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EICHHORNIA crassipes

Image of Eichhornia crassipes

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Pontederiaceae

Botanical Name

EICHHORNIA crassipes

Plant Common Name

Common Water Hyacinth

General Description

Common water hyacinth is beautiful aquatic plant native to South America. It is a floating plant that forms dense mats, sometimes rooting in the mud. The leaves are elliptical to oval arising from rosettes on inflated petioles. The roots are dark blue-black and feathery. New plants form readily along floating stolons or horizontal stems. The flowers are held above the foliage in dense spikes when the weather is warm. The flowers are generally 2-lipped with blue to lavender petals and a central yellow spot. The fruit is a capsule which holds an abundance of seeds.

Water hyacinths are beautiful and considered one of the world’s worst weeds. It is now pandemic in distribution in subtropical and tropical areas with the exception of Europe and considered an invader in many countries. Water hyacinth will grow in just about any freshwater aquatic environment from wetlands to rivers, sunny or shady. It grows easily in water gardens and aquariums. Where it is perennial, it becomes a serious weed. Plant populations can explode very quickly in warm, nutrient rich locations, doubling in a matter of weeks. Thick populations degrade water quality and clog waterways. In the United States, water hyacinth is listed as a Federal Noxious Weed and its possession, sale and distribution is prohibited or regulated by some States.

For more information about the invasiveness of water hyacinth see the United States Department of Agriculture news report at http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/mar00/water0300.htm or the Global Invasive Species Database report at http://www.issg.org/database/species/ecology.asp?si=70&fr=1&sts=

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    8 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Aquatics

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    6"-12" / 15.2cm - 30.5cm

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall

  • Native To

    South America

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Poorly Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site

  • Growth Rate

    Very Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Ample Water

  • Habit

    Mat-forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow, Blue, Lavender

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Fruit Color

    Tan

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Yes

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes