What’s going on?
Water hyacinth is native to South America and was first introduced to the United States as an aquatic ornamental plant. It now grows around Florida in all types of freshwater environments. This plant grows very rapidly, able to double the size of its mats in 6-18 days. In the past, three insects have been used in attempts to control water hyacinth and have reduced the size and intensity of the invasive, but cannot completely eradicate it.
Why it matters.
Water hyacinth has been causing damage in Florida for more than 100 years. Although it forms pretty flowers, this free-floating plant also forms dense mats on the surfaces of water bodies. These clog waterways and severely limit water activities such as boating and fishing. The plant also reduces biodiversity by crowding out native plants, lowers water quality, and reduces oxygen levels in the water, harming underwater wildlife.
What you can do.
- Learn more about how this invasive is being managed around Florida!
- Report sightings to EDDMapS, a web-based mapping system for documenting invasive species and pest distribution.
- Properly dispose of any water hyacinth obtained for water gardens or aquariums.
- “… Place plants in a plastic garbage bag and throw them away. Keep all plant parts away from waterbodies because the seeds are tiny and can be missed by the naked eye.”
- If boating, carefully inspect your trailer and boat for this weed to prevent contamination to other water bodies.
- Practice the Clean, Drain, and Dry method.