water hyacinth
Eichhornia crassipes
  • LEAVES: thick, leathery; round to oval, shiny green; up to 10 inches in diameter (although smaller leaves are common); held upright; balloon-like petioles swollen with spongy tissue
  • FLOWER: blue-purple or lilac-colored with a yellow spot; large (2-3 inches) and attractive
  • FRUIT: three-celled capsule with small, ribbed seeds.
  • TWIGS:
  • BARK:
  • FORM:perennial aquatic herb; floating; forms dense mats that covers waterways
  • HABITAT: found in a wide variety of wetland types: lakes, streams, ponds, waterways, ditches, and backwater areas
  • WETLAND DESIGNATION: Obligate Wetland (OBL): Almost always occurs in wetlands of the Atlantic and Gulf Coast Plain Region
  • RANGE: southeast US, California
  • USES: severe environmental and economic problem in all of the Gulf Coast states
  • Best Recognition Features:
    1. floating, choking mats
    2. considered the world's worst aquatic plant