common water hyacinth
Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms


Eichhornia crassipes is a free floating aquatic plant that has invaded aquatic areas throughout the eastern and southern portions of the United States. Plants can grow to 3 ft. (1 m) in height.
The leaves are oval to elliptical, thick, up to 6 in. (15 cm) wide and waxy with spongy petioles. Leaves curve inward at the edges.
The very showy blue-purple flowers are born on upright spikes. Each flower has six petals with the uppermost having a yellow patch.
This plant reproduces chiefly by vegetative means.
Ecological Threat
Eichhornia crassipes invades lakes, ponds, rivers, marshes, and other types of wetland habitats. It can quickly form dense floating mats of vegetation (populations can double in size in two weeks!). These dense mats restrict light to the underwater environment, reduce the light availability for submersed plants and aquatic invertebrates, and deplete the oxygen levels. Eichhornia crassipes is native to South America and was first introduced as an ornamental into the United States in 1884 at the Cotton States Exposition in New Orleans.

Selected Images


EDDMapS Distribution

EDDMapS Distribution - This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts, herbaria, and literature. For more information, visit

State Regulated List

State Regulated List - This map identifies those states that list this species on their regulated list. For more information, visit

State Regulated List
   No Data for this state
   Troublesome or Common weed in one or more crops

Most Troublesome / Most Common Agricultural Weed List
This map identifies those states that consider this species either most troublesome or most common in at least one commodity. For more information, visit the MTMC project page.

Taxonomic Rank

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Subclass: Liliidae
Order: Liliales
Family: Pontederiaceae
Genus: Eichhornia
Subject: Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms

Synonyms and Other Names

Other Common Names:
floating water hyacinth

Related Scientific Names:
Eichhornia speciosa (Mart.) Solms (Synonym)
Piaropus crassipes (Mart.) Solms (Synonym)


Plants - Aquatic Plants