Water hyacinth: A beautiful but destructive aquatic plant
By Xu Chenlu
In nature, high vitality sometimes means invasiveness, as a species will soon occupy entire areas and wipe out other species. The water hyacinth is exactly one of these species, as its glossy leaves, beautiful purple flowers and ability to improve water quality are so attractive that people forget about its danger.
The water hyacinth is a free-floating perennial aquatic plant native to tropical South America. It can grow quickly with low care and maintenance requirements. As it can produce beautiful flowers and greatly improve water quality, it has been introduced to many countries around the world for ornamental purposes. In China, the plant is called "fengyanlian," meaning the "lotus of phoenix's eyes," as the patterns on petals resemble the beautiful eye of the phoenix.
However, when people saw how quickly the water hyacinth reproduced in outdoor pools and aquariums, they realized the high vitality of the plant could lead to disaster. Therefore, scientists are discovering ways to eliminate them and use them for fodder.
Though growing the invasive water hyacinth in your pond is not recommended, keeping the plant in a pot is a good choice. Once you have potted your plant, you do not need to take care of it every day besides some occasional thinning. It does best in half-shaded areas, and will provide you adorable leaves with purple blossoms blooming from July to October.
(All images via VCG.)
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