Water Hyacinth

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Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia Crassipes) is a B-rated weed of limited distribution in Fresno. Waterhyacinth is a non-native invasive noxious aquatic weed species that was introduced into the United States as an ornamental. It infests localized areas in California. Where it does occur it can block water flow in irrigation and drainage canals. More importantly, it can clog waterways interfering with natural water flows and navigation. Water hyacinth will crowd out native plants with little benefit to wildlife. The dense stand it forms along shorelines, or in open water, inhibit migrating water birds from landing. The large floating mats reduce light and oxygen levels underwater, harming fish and other aquatic life. Water hyacinth seeds germinate in April. Overwintering mature plants will begin regrowth as the weather warms. It can root in mud, but generally it floats on the water surface forming dense mats. The mature plant can be 1-2 feet tall with dense dark colored fibrous roots. It usually reproduces vegetatively by stolons that form daughter plants. The process repeats over and over again. During the summer water hyacinth can double its coverage every 30 days.

Previous Water Hyacinth Infestations on the San Joaquin River North of Poso DamEast of Highway 99
Previous Water Hyacinth Infestations on the San Joaquin River North of Poso Dam (Left); and East of Highway 99 (Right)

The leaf surface of water hyacinth is bright green and glossy. The leafstalks are filled with air cells and look inflated and bladderlike.

The Flowers Are Funnel Shaped and Are Usually Bluish Purple (Above)
The Flowers Are Funnel Shaped and Are Usually Bluish Purple (Above)