Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Water Hyacinth: Eichhornia crassipes

Weed Description:  A floating, aquatic weed with attractive light purple flowers.  Water hyacinth is capable of reproducing very rapidly through either runners or stolons and can form dense mats where these plants have been introduced.  Water hyacinth occurs primarily along the coastal plains of the southeastern United States.
Leaves: Leaves are tough and leathery and elliptical or ovate in outline.  Leaf blades have parallel veins and may range from 1/2 to 8 inches in length.  Leaves occur on petioles that have an inflated appearance, especially towards the base.

Roots: Floating roots are fibrous and have a purplish tint.  Vegetative reproduction occurs through runners or stolons.

Flowers:  Individual flowers occur in groups of 5 to 20 on spikes.  Flowers are light purple to blue in color and the upper petal always has a distinctive yellow spot.

Fruit:  A capsule that contains many seeds.

Identifying Characteristics:  Free-floating plants with leathery leaves, bulbous petioles,  and attractive light purple flowers with a distinctive yellow mark on one of the petioles.