Seems it's always the pretty plants like wisteria that are invasive. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/plant/water-hyacinth, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries - WeedWise - Water hyacinth, water hyacinth - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). The devices use a mixture of water hyacinth and cow dung to produce a gas that can be used to cook food, purify water, and incubate chicks. The plant can be a serious nuisance, yet it has some interesting uses. This species is not currently in the Great Lakes region but may be elsewhere in the US. The scenic setting, pleasant climate, picturesque villages dotting the shores, and good fishing make the lake…. Hi, Liz. Thanks. Several solutions are probably needed for the water hyacinth problem, depending on where it exists and how serious it is. Native to the Amazon River basin of tropical South America, water hyacinth has now spread to all tropical and subtropical countries and is universally regarded as … Corrections? Water hyacinth is a fast growing plant capable of holding its rosette of glossy-green, waxy leaves up to two feet above the water. I hope the biodigesters are successful in fermenting the water hyacinth as well as the plants combined with animal manure. Water hyacinth is sold as an ornamental plant in some parts of North America. Even when plants are beautiful, they may be undesirable outside of their native habitat and without the usual checks that keep their population under control. To solve the wastewater crisis in India, many scientists have come up with an innovative process of using bio-remediation properties of water hyacinth for wastewater treatment. The women smoke the fish caught by the fishermen. I hope they become more affordable. I don't think I would grow it even if I had a pond in my garden because of the problems that it might cause. “Samples are said to have been given to fair-goers, and within 4 years, coastal fresh waters were infested from Texas to Alabama. To overcome the danger of agrochemicals and pesticides for the growth of the crops, the agro scientists are working on the biofertilizers and has come out with a new idea using water hyacinth. The species can be a major problem in warm climates. The petiole and the nodule that it contains have a spongy texture. Kenyans are amazing people. Water hyacinth is a beautiful plant that can be a serious problem. Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on September 08, 2019: It's been said a weed is a plant we haven't found a use for. A healthy acre of water hyacinths can weigh up to 200 tons. Monocots have only one cotyledon or embryonic leaf in their seeds. It grows in bodies of fresh water, including lakes, ponds, canals, rivers, marshes, and ditches. Some species float in shallow water; others are rooted in muddy stream banks and lakeshores. Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) is a large aquatic plant native to the Amazon basin. An even bigger problem is that the repeated exposure to the smoke used to cook and preserve the fish is affecting the health of the women, particularly with respect to their lungs. Hi Linda, The water lily is so beautiful that I never even thought it might cause problems. What a beautiful plant and what a complicated existence, for itself and for others! Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa. Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 08, 2019: Thank you for the visit and the comment, Cynthia. The plant is native to South America. Although they look similar, three of them are true petals and the other three are sepals. I hope you have a great week. Feral hogs (also called wild hogs), belonging to the species Sus scrofa, are not native to the United States. This invasive nuisance is planta non grata in much of the world where it often jams rivers and lakes with uncounted thousands of tons of floating plant matter. The water hyacinth was introduced in California in 1904. Water hyacinth is a very aggressive invader and can form thick mats. Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on March 08, 2020: Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 18, 2020: It would be wonderful if the negative turns into a positive. It also has some uses, however. Water hyacinth is a perennial plant belonging to the family Pontederiaceae, which is also known as the pickerelweed family. Finding a source of funds or a way to reduce the price are important endeavours. In 2018, the village of Dunga on the shore of Lake Victoria received two biogas digesters. I have seen this growing in abundance at some places, but never knew much details about it. The plant's features and behaviour are interesting, but it can cause major problems. Alligator weed was introduced into the Mobile, Ala., area in the late 1890s, probably in ship ballast water, and by 1920 was reported in Louisiana and other southern states. And this one definitely qualifies. It's also interesting because of the different possibilities that it presents. The stalk of the spike may be even longer than the spike itself. If these mats cover the entire surface of the pond, they can cause oxygen depletion and fish kills. I hope this ability is explored further and put to good use. The water hyacinth is interesting, but it can cause serious problems. Water hyacinth is present in the states of the southeast U.S., and California, Hawaii, and the Virgin Islands. How sad that it is a sort of narcissist of the plant world, but we can be somewhat hopeful around fueling the biogas digesters to ferment fish in Kenya. 2010. In addition, boats and other equipment should be washed after travelling through an area infested with water hyacinth. Thanks for this educative and absorbing read. The situation is a bit complicated. It is used as an ornamental in outdoor pools and aquariums. Maren Elizabeth Morgan from Pennsylvania on September 08, 2019: Thank you for your insights which go far beyond aesthetics! Thank you for sharing all of that information. Water hyacinth are available in plenty in the lakes, water ponds and such likw other water bodies. Linda Crampton is a writer and teacher with an honors degree in biology. The women who rely on selling the fish from Lake Victoria have other problems in addition to decreased fish to sell. In a very interesting development, researchers have discovered that it can be used as a biofuel. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Pontederiaceae, or the water hyacinth family, primarily contains aquatic plants that occur mainly in tropical areas around the world. It might be thought that it would be easy to remove the water hyacinth from its habitat, since it isn't attached to a substrate. They could be life-saving for many women, who usually do the cooking. I had no idea that this plant could cause so many problems. I hope we get to the point where the positives outweigh the negatives everywhere where the plant is found. There is no doubt that the plant can cause major problems. The plant can harm aquatic animals, since it reduces the entry of oxygen into the water and decreases the number of algae that some of them eat. It was educational for me as well, especially with respect to the meaning and significance of particular words. Thank you for sharing the article as well. The waxy, densely-packed florets come in shades of white, peach, orange, salmon, yellow, pink, red, purple, lavender and blue. It's interesting that the plant is loved by some people and hated by others. The plant can create multiple problems. I hope the biogas digester becomes affordable because it would probably be very helpful for some communities. The Water hyacinth is native to South America, Brasil, and was transported deliberately through horticulture to sell as ornamental plants (USGS). A swamp filled with water hyacinth plants, NickLubushko, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0 license. It has been found in other parts of the United States and in a few areas in Ontario as well but hasn't become permanently established there. I learned much from your article and the Ted Talk you included is inspirational on many levels. It's said to have a surface area of approximately 23,000 to 26,000 square miles, depending on the source. The roots are a blackish coloration and can grow in excess of 12” long; these roots are often utilized by fish fry and various aquatic bugs as habitat. For the short-term solution, she said the DID would allocate RM20,000 for clearing Oya River from overgrowing water hyacinth by using amphibious machinery or barges. Detractors mention its invasiveness and its ability to block waterways and interfere with human activities and health. In 1884, a Japanese delegation at a Louisiana cotton exhibition gave specimens of the plant, which they had obtained from Venezuela, to other delegates who duly took them home to adorn their garden ponds. Thanks for commenting, Peggy. I wasn't aware of the use of water hyacinth as an alternative fuel. The first introduction occurred in 1884 in the southern United States, though the timing is variable depending on the source. The stigma is composed of three lobes that are tightly pressed together or are separate. Thanks for the visit and comment The biodigesters could be very helpful. They usually hang freely in the water. Some people are doing great work in trying to solve the water hyacinth problem and help others at the same time. In addition, its stems can be dried and used in weaving. Water hyacinth affects humans as well. Denise McGill from Fresno CA on December 30, 2019: I know of several plants that are invasive and difficult to manage. This devilish weed is native to South America, but since it was introduced to India in the 19th century as an ornamental pond plant, it has spread to more than a hundred countries. 1. The Hyacinth bulb is a light purple or cream in color and are covered with … Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on September 07, 2019: A very well researched and informative article about Water Hyacinth, which is beautiful, yet harmful in some respect. The floating water-hyacinth was introduced into Florida in the 1880s and covered more than 120,000 acres of public lakes and navigable rivers by the early 1960s. Some types of livestock eat water hyacinth, especially if it's prepared properly to make it more palatable for them. The plant also spreads vegetatively. They are singularly beautiful. The plant can make a good compost due to the nutrients that it contains. The flowing water ecosystems originate from the springs, mountains and forests. l hope the situation improves in areas where it's a nuisance or harmful. But if the water hyacinth has biofuel possibilities, it seems that would cancel it from the list. Like you, I don't have anywhere to grow it. In addition, the water that collects on the leaves of the plants is an ideal habitat for mosquitoes, which can spread disease. Thanks for sharing more of your knowledge of our amazing planet! In Malaysia, fresh water hyacinth is cooked with rice bran and fishmeal and mixed with copra meal as … Water hyacinth is thought to be native to the Amazon River basin of South America. It may be illegal to plant it where you live because of the problems that it can cause. It's a good thing that they are finding ways of making biofuel from the water hyacinth. mayapujiati, via pixabay, CC0 public domain license. They have to walk long distances to collect enough wood to do this. Scientists have discovered that the water hyacinth can a great energy source when fermented in a biodigester. The plant's roots are fibrous or feathery and are purple-black in colour. The thick and glossy leaves of water hyacinth form a rosette that floats on the water surface or extends above it. Between 1880 and 1980, water hyacinth appeared as an ecological nuisance in many parts of Africa. I don't have a pond or anywhere to grow it, but I love reading about it. Hi, Shaloo. It's great that water hyacinth can be useful. The biofuel aspect is intriguing. A lesson in and of itself! Even on its own, it can provide enough energy to support a family's needs in the form of a gas that can produce a flame. I did know it can be a major problem....wonderfully informative article, Linda! Hyacinths Come to the Netherlands and England Dicots have two cotyledons. The leaves are wide and are oval or round in shape. It is said that only a few weeks are needed for the water hyacinth to cover a large area. Updates? Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 14, 2019: Thanks for the comment, Roberta. It's good that such things can be harnessed for good even though they present such a problem in many areas. The biopdigesters seem to be working well. Clearing the plant from the water may be helpful but may have to be repeated at regular intervals. It spread across the southeastern U. S. and was identified in Florida in 1895. The plant can definitely be a nuisance. Thank you very much for the visit, Rachel. I can think of several plants in my part of the world where this applies, including Himalayan balsam (a pretty flowering plant), yellow flag iris, oxeye daisy, and English holly. The plant is certainly beautiful when it flowers. Using the water hyacinth as animal fodder is a traditional practice in many areas of Asia, including China, Bangladesh, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand. The common water hyacinth (E. crassipes) is the most widely distributed species. It's located mainly in Tanzania and Uganda but extends into Kenya. There is convincing evidence that the hyacinth was cultivated by the Turks for both its fragrance and for ceremonial usage. The interior of a nodule is shown in the photo below. They can also block drainage and irrigation channels. The hyacinth was first described in 1824, in Brazil. It was introduced in Egypt in about 1879. Liz Westwood from UK on September 07, 2019: I have read your informative article with great interest. Your article about water hyacinths is interesting. Yes, it is good that the plant can be useful. When fermented on its own or in combination with animal manure, it produces a gas that can be used for cooking and other tasks. The water hyacinth (, …is susceptible to infestations of water hyacinth. I appreciate your comment. Water hyacinth is most abundant in slow-moving water. In addition, Fatimah said a working committee headed by the district officer had been established for the purpose of addressing this water hyacinth problem. It is good, though that there is a positive use for it in Kenya to balance out the negatives. Yes, there do seem to be opportunities for entrepreneurs. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Wouter Hagens, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain license. WARNING: Water hyacinth is a highly invasive species in areas with mild winters. They can also spread rapidly, covering the water. Unfortunately, individual plants are connected to one another and can form a dense, tangled, and heavy mat. If you're tempted to grow it in your garden or on your property, you should investigate your local laws. The lovely flowers are born in a spike that may be as long as twelve inches and contain as many as fifteen flowers. All four are introduced plants and all are invasive and problematic in some parts of the province. I found the Ted Talk inspirational, too. I am going to share this article with someone I know who is already funding similar endeavors in Africa. Water hyacinth fills the space needed by other aquatic plants and prevents their growth. The flowers look so pretty. Water hyacinth, any aquatic plant of the genus Eichhornia of the pickerelweed family (Pontederiaceae), consisting of about five species, native primarily to tropical America. Where It Invaded A visitor from Florida took a cutting and brought it home to their garden pond and within weeks found it had taken over the pond. Unfortunately, it often grows aggressively and can be very invasive. This is a well-written article that has a wealth of information, and I learned so much. The plant lives in the wild in the southeastern part of the United States and is also found in California. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. In cooler ones, the temperature may be warm enough for the plant to survive but too cold for it to spread rapidly, making it a bit easier to control. All have slender rootstocks, feathery roots, rosettes of stalked leaves, and few to many flowers arranged in spikes or clusters in the leaf axils. Navigate parenthood with the help of the Raising Curious Learners podcast. Its thick, waxy, oval-shaped leaves are 4-8 inches across and branch out from the center of the plant on modified stems that may rise as much as 1 meter above the water surface. The efforts of individuals and communities can be very important in solving a water hyacinth problem. The water hyacinth problem needs to be solved. Thanks for this interesting look at water hyacinths. It was introduced to the United States in 1884 at the Cotton States Exposition in New Orleans, Louisiana. Water hyacinth produces stolons (horizontal stems) that extend sideways and produce new shoots. Water hyacinth's scientific name is Eichhornia crassipes. Hopefully a solution to the problem will be found. What happens to the populations of plants and animals as water hyacinths grow? When the plant is mixed with chicken manure or cow dung, the results are even better. Thank you for your ongoing excellent science articles! We expected to come home to floating islands of lirio like last year but it is very “scant” so far and it seems to be entirely water lettuce and no water hyacinth:/ Anyone else notice this or know why? Technically, the petals are tepals. One of them is its ability to act as a biofuel.
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