Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) is a floating plant that can be used to clean up water by accumulation of toxic metals and by capturing free nutrients from the water. In good conditions it grows very rapidly and can clog river systems causing loss of light underwater and the subsequent death of other aquatic life. It can be harvested and composted to produce useful fertiliser for fields.
We have purchased three plants of this recently that are now beginning to settle in to the pond. In good conditions the plant is reputed to double in size every two weeks so i’ll keep you posted on this. The fast growth rate aLso means this plant has potential as a biogas producer by fermenting the harvested plants.
Water Hyacinth has been proposed as the World’s worst invasive water plant, although there is competition from a few other species, and causes problems in Australia, the Americas, frica and Asia according to the Invasive Species Specialist Group’s report. There have been several attempts to find good biocontrol organisms for this species and there has been some success. However the control seems only to reduce the vigour of the species and does not eradicate it. Perhaps the most comprehensive document on control of the species is the conference report of ACIAR which deals with the species on a worldwide basis and describes attempts to control it with a variety of agents. Those of you living in tropical and warm temperate areas need to remember it can be illegal to plant this species in many places.