Water hyacinth plants are commonly found in freshwater bodies of water such as ponds where the temperature is between 54 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Many states, such as Florida, are spending a lot of money trying to control this plant, and have now prohibited it within the state.
The water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) is an aquatic plant that freely floats in water. These plants can be found in ponds throughout the southern and eastern parts of the United States. This ornamental plant originated in India and was brought to the United States in 1884.
Water hyacinth plants can mature to a maximum height of 3 feet and develop a fibrous root system that grows below the water level. This plant features dark green leaves that grow from a spongy, inflated petiole, which enables the plant to float in bodies of water such as ponds. Water hyacinth plants also yield light blue or violet flowers that are very showy.
Water hyacinth is considered an invasive plant because it can spread quickly to create mats that cover the surface of ponds. The mother and daughter plants are connected to one another with floating stolons. A water hyacinth is capable of doubling in size in just 6 to 18 days. Just one acre of this heavy floating plant can weigh 200 tons.
If not controlled properly, this plant can cover the entire pond and result in oxygen depletion of the water to the detriment of the fish in the pond. Dense mats of water hyacinth can also create problems for boats and fishermen because it blocks waterways and can result in the death of many types of fish.
A couple different ways exist to control the spread of the water hyacinth plant. The first method of control is to introduce water hyacinth weevils, which are said to control the growth of this plant. There are also aquatic herbicides available that can be applied to the plant. Finally, in some regions, harvesting machines remove the plant from the water, then grind it before redepositing the slurry into the pond.