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Published In: Monographiae Phanerogamarum 4: 527. 1883. (Mar 1883) (Monogr. Phan.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Status: Introduced


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1. Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms (water hyacinth)

Pl. 189 l; Map 763

Plants annual (perennial farther south). Stems stout. Leaves clustered at the stem tips, thick, shiny, the petioles 3–17(–35) cm long, inflated or bulbous‑swollen around the middle, the blades 3–10 cm wide, kidney‑shaped to nearly circular. Stipules absent. Inflorescences dense panicles, sometimes reduced to spikes, usually glandular puberulent, long‑stalked and extending past the leaves. Perianth fused below the middle, more or less 2‑lipped, the lobes 3–4 cm long, lilac to blue or white, the upper middle lobe with a yellow area near the base. Stamens 6, 3 shorter and 3 longer, the filaments attached near the middle of the anthers. Fruits slender capsules to 2 cm long, enclosed by the persistent perianth tube. Seeds numerous, about 1 mm long, with about 10 longitudinal ribs. 2n=32. July–August.

Introduced, escaped from horticultural plantings in southeastern Missouri and rarely farther north (native to tropical South America, widely naturalized in warm parts of the world). Floating aquatics in ponds and sloughs.

Water hyacinth is one of the worst weeds in aquatic ecosystems. It reproduces vegetatively with amazing efficiency, and can grow to such density in canals and lakes that even boat travel becomes impossible. Missouri is at the northern edge of this species’ climatic tolerance, and the relatively few populations reported from the state have not persisted for more than a few years. It is popular as an ornamental pond plant, however, and will continue to escape from cultivation sporadically.



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