*Detected in Michigan*
- Erect, free-floating perennial herb
- Short, bulbous leaf petioles
- Distinctive air bladders that keep leaves afloat
- Rounded, leathery leaves arranged in whorls of 6-10
- 14-day flowering cycle produced lavender flowers with central yellow fleck
Wilfredo Robles, Mississippi State University, Bugwood.org
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
Chris Evans, Illinois Wildlife Action Plan, Bugwood.org
Habitat: Mainly a tropical and sub-tropical weed growing in freshwater systems. Water hyacinth is not tolerant to temperatures below freezing for long periods of time, nor is it tolerant of high salinity water.
Native Range: Amazon basin
U.S. Distribution: Water hyacinth has been introduced to at least 25 states and is widespread in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee.
Local Concern: This invasive species forms dense colonies in water bodies that block sunlight and crowd out native species. At optimum temperatures, it can double its biomass within a month. Dense colonization can also impede boat traffic, reduce water flow, and interfere with hydroelectric power generation.
Means of Introduction/Spread: Boat traffic, flooding, water flow, human transport, aquaculture release