FLIP: Florida Invasive Plants

Eichhornia crassipes

Common Name(s): Water-hyacinth, water-orchid


Amazon basin 

Ecological Impact

Grows at an alarmingly fast rate.  In large mats, water hyacinth may degrade water quality and alter native plant communities. Listed as a Category I invasive species by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council.


A floating aquatic plant that forms dense mats. Roots are feathery and dark purple to black in color and are submerged. Stems are erect. Leaves form in rosettes and are spongy in texture with smooth edges. Flowers are showy with 6 petals, and lavender-blue in color, with a yellow center. The fruit is a capsule with 3 cells full of many seeds (Langeland and Burks, 1998).

Identification Tips

Water hyacinth has showy lavender flowers and dark feathery roots.; Leaves are round, spongy, and bulbous near the base. It may be confused with frog's bit (Limnobium spongia). 


Introduced to Florida in 1890. By the late 1950s water hyacinth occupied close to 126,000 acres of Florida's waterways.

Florida Range

Found throughout the state of Florida.

Prevention/Management Strategies

Do not plant or release into water gardens or natural waterways. Check watercraft propellers and trailers for plant material before and after entry into waterways.

For more information about preventing the spread of invasive aquatic plants, visit the Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers website.


Most photos courtesy of the Atlas of Florida Plants; click for additional plant details.

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Florida Invasive Plants