Eichhornia crassipes 

(ek-horn' ee-ah cras-sip' peas)

Common name: Water Hyacinth, Water Orchid

Family: Pontederiaceae, Pickerelweed Family

Height x width: flower stems to 6", spreading as space allows

Growth rate: moderate to fast

Foliage: ladle-shaped shiny leaves in rosettes floating on water surface with no submerged leaves, leaves swollen at base into balloon shape with honeycomb inside which keeps the leaves afloat, being more swollen when cooler; leaves are rounded 2-6" across

Flowers: spikes to 6" above water surface of 10-30 orchid-like blossoms of pale mauve or lilac with a peacock eye of gold and blue

Hardiness: zone 10

Soil: not applicable, floating water plant

Light: sun

Pests and Problems: none serious

Landscape habit, uses: water gardens, ponds

Other interest: named for 19th century Prussian politician J.A.F. Eichhorn; native to tropical So. America and naturalized throughout the tropics and subtropics; attractive blue-black roots; may be invasive in native and warm areas, especially if water is nutrient rich, clogging waterways and necessitating chemical or mechanical removal; roots extract heavy metals from water making it useful as a water purifier; related to the Peacock Hyacinth, E. azurea, which spreads in the shape of a peacock's tail to 6' across

Other culture: overwinter by bringing small plantlets from mother plant indoors, keeping roots in wet mud at moderately warm greenhouse with sufficient light, artificial supplemental light may be needed in the North; heat and sun needed for best flowering

Propagation: cutting plantlets with roots off stolons from main plant or group

Cultivars:

'Major'--larger flowers


©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS123 course.

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