Water Hyacinth

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pickerelweed, common name for the Pontederiaceae, a family of chiefly tropical perennial aquatic herbs found in freshwater. The pickerelweeds (genus Pontederia) range north into temperate regions, including most of the E United States and Canada. The water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), a native of tropical America, has spread widely and is so prolific that it has clogged many waterways in the S United States and in other areas, including Java, Australia, and the Great Lakes region of E Africa. It is sometimes cultivated in tanks and ponds for its ornamental foliage and blue-violet flowers, and is used in some areas as a raw material for producing biogas for cooking. The pickerelweed family is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Liliopsida, order Liliales.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Water Hyacinth


(Eichornia crassipes; formerly E. speciosa), a perennial herbaceous aquatic plant of the family Pontederiaceae. The stem is short, with rosettes of oval leaves. The leaf petioles are filled with air and inflated like bubbles to ensure that the plant floats on the water surface. The rhizomes are long, so that if the water dries out, the plant takes root in the muddy bottom. The flowers are in a spicate inflorescence with a funnelform lilac perianth of six lobes and six stamens. The fruit is a capsule.

The water hyacinth is native to tropical and subtropical regions of North and South America. It has spread to the fresh waters of all tropical lands. A pernicious aquatic weed, it forms dense thickets in rivers, obstructing navigation and contaminating drainage and irrigation systems. The water hyacinth is controlled by mechanical and chemical methods; in some countries it is used as fertilizer or livestock feed.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The group also sent photographs as proof of the massive proliferation of water hyacinth in some portions of Laguna de Bay.
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has sent a Save-our-Souls (SOS) to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) on the blockade of riverine waterways by water hyacinths in Niger Delta communities.
Because of largely external funding to combat water hyacinth, the problem has not aroused the needed national political commitment.
Shamsuddoha points out that the rafts are only a solution for particular environments and says he fears that as the sea level keeps rising, the increasing salinization could prove toxic even for hardy plants like the water hyacinth.
Dr Kefyalew Temesgen, a biologist and researcher on Lake Tana explains why the ongoing efforts have failed to make a significant impact in controlling the spread of the water hyacinth.
He also said water hyacinth would not survive winters in Wales, but could be used during the other three seasons.
Currently, reconnaissance surveys are conducted by manually sampling water hyacinth plants periodically to ascertain the severity of the damage inflicted by biocontrol and the health status of water hyacinth plants.
What makes the water hyacinth special is that it is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world.
That, in turn, caused higher amounts of nutrients in the waters, leading to increased growth of water hyacinth that decreased the concentration of dissolved oxygen in the water.
But the plucky little one miraculously clung on to life by holding onto water hyacinth growing in the river and stayed afloat all night.