www.zinnysworld.com    Copyright 2000-2015 by Thomas Zinneman.  All rights reserved. Water Hyacinth Eichhornia crassipes

The Water Hyacinth is a free-floating perennial aquatic plant native to tropical and sub-tropical South America.  It has become naturalized in waterways throughout Florida and the frost-free coastal areas of the southeast.

These plants have long, spongy and bulbous stalks that can rise as much as one meter above the surface of the water.  They have broad, thick, glossy leaves that are 4-8 inches across.  A single stalk can support a spike of 8-15 attractive flowers.  These flowers are mostly lavender to pink in color with six petals.  The upper petal is purplish with a yellow center.

These plants can grow rapidly, doubling its size in two weeks.  They can form large floating mats that can completely cover lakes, ponds, and streams and prevent sunlight from penetrating the water.  It has been designated a federal noxious weed in the United States.  Fortunately, methods have been found to control its growth and it is under control in most areas.

The photos on this page were taken along a roadside ditch adjacent to US 41 in North Fort Myers.

The distribution maps for Water Hyacinth are from the Plants Database of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).