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Great Lakes Center, SAMC 319
SUNY Buffalo State
1300 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo, NY 14222

wnyprism@buffalostate.edu
(716) 878.4708

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Water Hyacinth

COMMON NAME:

Water Hyacinth

SCIENTIFIC NAME:

Eichhornia crassipes

ORIGIN:

South America

DESCRIPTION:

Water hyacinth is a free-floating, perennial, aquatic plant. In climates where it is unable to survive the winter, water hyacinth will grow as an annual. Its leaves are round, curved, glossy bright green and float above the water’s surface on bulbous stalks. Its dark purple to black feathery roots hang in the water below the plant. Water hyacinth’s showy purple flowers grow on a spike that rises approximately a foot above the leaves. It is commonly used as a water garden plant.

HABITAT:

Water hyacinth can invade all types of freshwater habitats.

THREAT:

Water hyacinth can reproduce rapidly, doubling its population in a week. It forms dense mats on the surface of the water, making boating, fishing and recreational water sports impossible. These mats also block photosynthesis, reducing the oxygen level in the water below, decreasing the numbers and diversity of aquatic species. The reduction of open water also threatens waterfowl. Water hyacinth even provides ideal breeding habitat for mosquitoes.

MANAGEMENT:

Individual plants can be easily hand-pulled. Water hyacinth infestations can be reduced by mechanical harvesters or herbicides approved for aquatic use. Several fungi and insect species are also used as bio-controls.

WNY PRISM PRIORITY:

Early Detection Priority Species

Tier 2 - Eradication

Invasive Species Priorities - Tier Chart

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

NYS Prohibited and Regulated Species - Part 575:

PATHWAYS OF INVASION:

Water hyacinth was introduced as an ornamental water garden plant. It is mostly spread through aquarium and water garden release.

REGIONAL DISTRIBUTION:

Water hyacinth has been found in Erie, Niagara and Chautauqua counties.

MAP (via iMapInvasives):

To view more information for each point, zoom in, click on the point and select the "Maximize" symbol. Click "More info" to open the iMapInvasives record.

This map shows confirmed observations (green points) submitted to the NYS Invasive Species Database.
Absence of data does not necessarily mean absence of the species at that site, but that it has not been reported there.
For more information, please visit iMapInvasives.