Your article about water hyacinths is interesting. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). The leaves are wide and are oval or round in shape. Thank you. It was introduced to the United States in 1884 at the Cotton States Exposition in New Orleans, Louisiana. The mat formed by the plant absorbs nutrients that other plants require. It's also interesting because of the different possibilities that it presents. Water hyacinth is a floating plant that is admired for its beautiful pink or lavender flowers set against a background of glossy green leaves. They could be life-saving for many women, who usually do the cooking. Sounds like opportunity for the right entrepreneur! Water hyacinth has some uses, however. Water hyacinth affects humans as well. 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. It is used as an ornamental in outdoor pools and aquariums. It spread across the southeastern U. S. and was identified in Florida in 1895. It grows in bodies of fresh water, including lakes, ponds, canals, rivers, marshes, and ditches. 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. They usually hang freely in the water. The plant's features and behaviour are interesting, but it can cause major problems. The plant can definitely be a nuisance. Infestations of water hyacinth were reported across the southeast and as far west as California by 1890. Blessings to you as well. The plant is native to South America. Water hyacinth is a perennial plant belonging to the family Pontederiaceae, which is also known as the pickerelweed family. Maren Elizabeth Morgan from Pennsylvania on September 08, 2019: Thank you for your insights which go far beyond aesthetics! 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. Water hyacinth is non-native to North America. The plant could be very useful as a fuel. Hyacinths Come to the Netherlands and England They can also spread rapidly, covering the water. 2. Although they look similar, three of them are true petals and the other three are sepals. The plant also spreads vegetatively. I wasn't aware of the use of water hyacinth as an alternative fuel. You've presented both sides of its story so well and the biofuel side of it is indeed important. Between 1880 and 1980, water hyacinth appeared as an ecological nuisance in many parts of Africa. The Water hyacinth is native to South America, Brasil, and was transported deliberately through horticulture to sell as ornamental plants (USGS). Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 08, 2019: Thank you for the visit and the comment, Cynthia. 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. The plant's roots are fibrous or feathery and are purple-black in colour. “Samples are said to have been given to fair-goers, and within 4 years, coastal fresh waters were infested from Texas to Alabama. This is a well-written article that has a wealth of information, and I learned so much. The plant can be a serious nuisance, yet it has some interesting uses. The petiole and the nodule that it contains have a spongy texture. Water gardeners should only use native or non-invasive plants and are encouraged to ask garden centers for plants that are not invasive. The water hyacinth (, …is susceptible to infestations of water hyacinth. It's said to have a surface area of approximately 23,000 to 26,000 square miles, depending on the source. The flowing water ecosystems originate from the springs, mountains and forests. Water hyacinth has since spread throughout the southeastern U.S., much of California, the northeastern coastal region, and up the Mississippi River into the Great Lakes region. — Ontario's Invading Species Awareness Program. Shaloo Walia from India on September 07, 2019: Well-researched and informative hub. Technically, the petals are tepals. The biopdigesters seem to be working well. Omissions? The plant lives in the wild in the southeastern part of the United States and is also found in California. Women are reportedly suffering from fewer illnesses and they are making more money because they don't have to spend time looking for firewood. I appreciate your comment. 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. I found the Ted Talk inspirational, too. Some species float in shallow water; others are rooted in muddy stream banks and lakeshores. The scenic setting, pleasant climate, picturesque villages dotting the shores, and good fishing make the lake…. They often have a pointed tip. The water hyacinth problem needs to be solved. The plant reproduces quickly, which contributes to its invasiveness. The effects of introduced water hyacinth on habitat structure, invertebrate assemblages, and fish diets. Updates? The video below describes one women's project in which dried stems of water hyacinth are used to create woven items. Site and Date of Introduction: The Water Hyacinth was introduced from its native home in South America to various countries by well-meaning people as an ornamental plant; to the US in the 1880's. Thanks for the visit and comment The biodigesters could be very helpful. Like you, I don't have anywhere to grow it. The women and men who live in areas where the plant is abundant deserve to be able to earn a livelihood safely and efficiently. Water hyacinth is a beautiful plant that can be a serious problem. The thick and glossy leaves of water hyacinth form a rosette that floats on the water surface or extends above it. It also blocks the light that algae and other photosynthetic organisms in the water need in order to make food. The plants are banned in several states. The plant can create multiple problems. Water hyacinth fills the space needed by other aquatic plants and prevents their growth. Its leafstalk is spongy and inflated, and the upper lobes of the purple flowers have blue and yellow markings. The animals are collected and sold as food. The efforts of individuals and communities can be very important in solving a water hyacinth problem. A cultivated form is sold for aquatic gardens and could be an alternative for someone interested in water hyacinth. 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. It was educational for me as well, especially with respect to the meaning and significance of particular words. Thanks for this interesting look at water hyacinths. 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. Hopefully a solution to the problem will be found. It's interesting that the plant is loved by some people and hated by others. The waxy, densely-packed florets come in shades of white, peach, orange, salmon, yellow, pink, red, purple, lavender and blue. I have seen this growing in abundance at some places, but never knew much details about it. Molecular Ecology 19(9):1774-1786. We live right on the lake but have been gone for the last 4 1/2 months. Hi, Liz. Water hyacinth is sold as an ornamental plant in some parts of North America. It's good that such things can be harnessed for good even though they present such a problem in many areas. Hyacinth or Hyacinthus to give its Latin name comes from the Ancient Greek name given by Homer who said the flower sprang from the blood of the dead Hyakinthos. FlourishAnyway from USA on September 08, 2019: Hopefully they can get a handle on the problem before it continues to spiral out of control. In addition, its stems can be dried and used in weaving. This plant with a fibrous root system, spread very fast, as they propagate vegetatively and through seeds. It also suggests that people put unwanted plants into the garbage instead of discarding them in waterways. The mat of plant material over the surface of the water is sometimes as deep as six feet. If biodigester is made affordable then it can be a boon for those villagers and also save our precious trees. It reproduces quickly and often clogs slow-flowing streams. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Zhang, Y., D. Zhang, and S.C. Barrett. The hyacinth was first described in 1824, in Brazil. Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) is a large aquatic plant native to the Amazon basin. I’m glad they found alternative uses for it but it does seem quite a nuisance. 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. Ontario's Invading Species Awareness Program recommends several procedures for dealing with water hyacinth in North America. This process is called ‘ Phytoremediation ’, which has made wastewater management very much eco-friendly and cost-effective. There is convincing evidence that the hyacinth was cultivated by the Turks for both its fragrance and for ceremonial usage. 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. But I am sure the locals, who live nearby those areas, must be aware of it’s plus and minuses. The 7-8 leaves of the hyacinth are fleshy, glossy green and strap shaped. It's a good thing that they are finding ways of making biofuel from the water hyacinth. The plant is native to South America. Thank you for sharing all of that information. The situation is a bit complicated. The species can be a major problem in warm climates. Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on September 07, 2019: I had no idea the beautiful water hyacinth could cause so many problems, and yet be an energy source. Scientists have discovered that the water hyacinth can a great energy source when fermented in a biodigester. The leaves are trowel shaped with a conspicuously swollen petiole (stem of the leaf) that's spongy and aids in floating. It was reported to be in California in 1904. When the plant is mixed with chicken manure or cow dung, the results are even better. Genetic uniformity characterizes the invasive spread of water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), a clonal aquatic plant. The spongy interior of a nodule on a petiole, Jacopo Prisco, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0 license. Glad they've found a way to turn it into fuel. At the moment, a large area of water is blocked by the plants, which are clogging fishing routes. Information about polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or. Liz Westwood from UK on September 07, 2019: I have read your informative article with great interest. Linda Crampton is a writer and teacher with an honors degree in biology. Using the gathered plants to help people is an excellent goal. Feral hogs (also called wild hogs), belonging to the species Sus scrofa, are not native to the United States. 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. These items include storage baskets, bags, sandals, and other objects. Thanks for commenting, Peggy. 1. Supporters of water hyacinth point out its beauty, its edibility for livestock, and its use in compost and as a craft material. 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 stalk of the spike may be even longer than the spike itself. The fruit is a capsule that contains many seeds. 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. 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. The plant is certainly beautiful when it flowers. Hi, Flourish. Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on September 08, 2019: This is such an interesting article, Linda. Some types of livestock eat water hyacinth, especially if it's prepared properly to make it more palatable for them. Water hyacinth, any aquatic plant of the genus Eichhornia of the pickerelweed family (Pontederiaceae), consisting of about five species, native primarily to tropical America. What happens to the populations of plants and animals as water hyacinths grow? Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 07, 2019: That was totally fascinating. I hope you have a wonderful 2020. The plant can make a good compost due to the nutrients that it contains. Corrections? Some Facts about Water Hyacinth. It will be interesting to see how effective they are. 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. Thanks for this educative and absorbing read. This species is not currently in the Great Lakes region but may be elsewhere in the US. Thank you for including Acheny Idachaba's video. Estuaries 26(3):746-758. Around fifty additional digesters will be sent to the Kenya in the near future. And this one definitely qualifies. As the plants spread, the ability of boats to find fish and travel through the plant mats is decreasing. The water hyacinth is interesting, but it can cause serious problems. Interestingly, these problems are not caused by water hyacinth and may actually be helped by the plant in combination with technology. 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. Neat to see how effective they are finding ways of making biofuel from water... And yellow markings of making biofuel from the lake but have been for... To see how effective they are suitable environment possibilities, it often grows aggressively and can form mats... Sharing more of your knowledge of our amazing planet ways of making from! 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