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Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants Logo    Plant Management in Florida Waters

Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants Logo    Plant Management in Florida Waters

Quick Facts

  • Scientific name: Eichhornia crassipes
  • Origin: South America
  • Introduction: 1880s, horticulturists
  • Aquatic community: Floating
  • Habitat: Water surfaces
  • Distribution: Statewide, especially peninsula
  • Management effort: Maintenance control
  • 2017 public waters / plant acres: 218 (47%) / 937
  • 2017 Waters / acres controlled: Hyacinth only – 49 / 597. Hyacinth / lettuce mix – 153 / 24,297.

Water hyacinthWater hyacinth

Environmental and Economic Concerns

  • Populations can double in as little as two weeks
  • Reproduce by seeds and stolons
    • seeds can lie dormant in sediments for years
    • mass germination when dried sediments reflood after drought
  • Harbors mosquitoes
  • Increases sedimentation by shedding roots, leaves and shoots
  • Dense mats prevent air and light diffusion into water, consume oxygen
    • displacing native plants, fish and wildlife
    • preventing decomposition of detritus
  • Rapid dispersal by wind and water movement
  • Mats jam against bridges and flood control structures
  • Reduces property values and local tax revenues

Management Options

  • Biological: Two weevil species and a moth larvae stress plants, reducing plant size, vigor, and seed production – plant hopper species released in October 2014
  • Chemical: Diquat, 2,4-D, occasionally glyphosate, flumioxazin, penoxsulam, copper, imazamox
  • Mechanical: Harvesters or shredders at bridges or flood control structures
  • Physical: Occasional hand pulling pioneer populations

Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, Status of the Aquatic Plant Maintenance Program in Florida Public Waters, Annual Report – Fiscal Year 2016-2017.