Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)
Water Hyacinth is an aquatic plant native to the Amazon River Basin of South America. Water Hyacinth is one of 24 species found in Bermuda that appear on the IUCN list of the world's top 100 most invasive species. It was introduced to Bermuda for use in water features and fish ponds. It has escaped into freshwater ponds and marshes island-wide, where it is now considered an invasive pest. A 1904 survey of Devonshire Marsh noted water hyacinth "abundantly represented in the wettest places." Today it is found in open water areas of Devonshire and Pembroke Marsh. The canal behind the Transport Control Department and along Dutton Avenue are good places to observe this species.
Water hyacinth has glossy, rounded green leaves and attractive lavender-purple flowers. It floats freely on the surface of the water, aided by a round float at the base of the plant. This plant reproduces very quickly, forming large mats which blanket the surface of affected water bodies. These mats block sunlight from reaching other aquatic plants, which rot and consume the dissolved oxygen in the water, which kills pond animals. In this way, Water Hyacinth can completely destroy a pond ecosystem in a short time.