Eichhornia crassipes

Scientific nameEichhornia crassipes
PICKEREL WEED FAMILY
Pontederiaceae
 
COMMON NAMES
English: lilac devil, Nile lily, pickerelweed, water hyacinth, water orchid
 
DESCRIPTION
Evergreen, free-floating, aquatic plant that may become anchored in shallow water; [10–20 (–100) cm high]; roots are long and feathery; runners (10 cm long) are produced across the water surface and give rise to new plants.
Leaves: Dark green, shiny, hairless, simple, oval to egg-shaped to almost rounded (2–25 cm long and 2–15 cm wide) with swollen bladder-like stems (30 cm long).
Flowers: Pale violet or blue (4–6 cm long and 3.5–5 cm wide), upper petal of each flower has a prominent yellow-centred patch; flowers in clusters of 8–10.
Fruits: Capsules (a dry fruit that opens at maturity) (10–15 mm long), containing very fine seeds.
 
ORIGIN
Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela
 
REASON FOR INTRODUCTION
Ornament
 
INVADES
Irrigation channels, dams, ponds, floodplains, swamps, wetlands, lakes and slow-moving rivers.
 
IMPACTS
This aquatic weed has the ability to form thick mats which hamper water transport; inhibit or even prevent fishing-related activities; block waterways and canals; hamper hydroelectricity generation; and provide breeding sites for vectors of human and animal diseases, increasing the incidence of malaria, encephalitis, schistosomiasis, filariasis, river blindness and possibly cholera (Burton, 1960; Spira et al., 1981; Gopal, 1987; Viswam et al., 1989). The thick mats reduce light penetration into the water, causing declines in the concentrations of phytoplankton that support the zooplankton–fish food chain. Extensive mats of water hyacinth increase water loss through evapotranspiration, and impact rice production (Waterhouse, 1993). In southern Benin, an infestation of water hyacinth reduced the annual income of 200,000 people by about US $84 million (de Groote et al., 2003). Lost revenues for men were mostly fishing-related, while women experienced lost revenues in trade, primarily of food crops and fish.
 
Witt, Arne. 2017. Guide to the Naturalized and Invasive Plants of Southeast Asia. CAB International. Retrieved from http://www.cabi.org/cabebooks/ebook/20173158961 on 5 October 2018.

 

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Last updated on 02/13/2019 23:54