Sep 26, 2011

Water Hyacinth from a beautiful plant to the most hated weed

We arrived in Coimbatore. It is Monday early morning here in India and in a few hours we will meet Siruthuli our NGO we will facilitate in water hyacinth problem.
So far we did some reading (Water-hyacinth fact sheet Australia 2010, Practical Action Water Hyacinth 2007). Originally from South America and a beautiful aquatic plant like our European water lilies water hyacinth were given as presents. In Africa, Asia, some parts of Australia and USA they found more then perfect growing condition and without any natural enemies it became one of the worst aquatic weeds.
Here some biological features, what make them such a strong survivor and most hated weed:
  • Asexual reproductionWater hyacinths are building daughter plants within every fifth day. This makes them double their size within round about 12 days
  • Floating plantWater hyacinths have air in their leave stems and their roots are only hanging in the water.  If they run out of space, they just sail away.
  • Growing in thick mats (up to two meters): The mats are causing a lot of problems, reducing light and oxygen; change water chemistry; clogging intakes of irrigation, hydropower and water supply systems; restraining shipping and fishing and at least the mats making it difficult to harvest.
  • 1-1,5 mm egg shaped seeds:The seeds can last in mud or soil about 20 years. When they reconnect to water they start growing again
  • 95% water: with their transpiration water hyacinth reduce water from water bodies which are 1,6 % higher then normal evaporation
Prefect growing conditions:
  • calm and slow floating water
  • temperatures between 28- 30 degree Celsius, good growing between 22 degree Celsius -35 degrees
After all this hard facts: Does anybody of you have experienced water hyacinth in real live? How did you find the flower? What did you observer?

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