- Water Hyacinth comes from tropical South
America, where it grows in rivers and lakes in the Amazon basin.
- It was brought to South Africa as a decorative
water plant because of its beautiful flowers.
- It is an aggressive invader especially in water
bodies with high levels of nutrients.
- Water Hyacinth is a successful invader because:
- It can reproduce both vegetatively
- it grows faster
than any other flowering plant in the world!
- Once a seed germinates, the plant grows very
quickly and can flower within three or four months.
- Water Hyacinth threatens biodiversity by:
- changing the ecosystem so that it no longer suits indigenous plants
- forming thick mats that stop light getting into the water, so that
underwater plants cannot grow
- removing oxygen from the water when the
plants die, sink to the bottom and rot; this causes fish and other
animals to move away.
- Water Hyacinth is a problem for people because:
- it blocks waterways and interferes with transport, irrigation,
fishing and recreation
- it worsens flooding and can even cause bridges to collapse
- disease-carrying mosquitoes can breed amongst
- Some people use Water Hyacinth as a source of fibre for making rope,
baskets and paper, fodder for livestock, compost, and to remove excess
nutrients from water.