Water Hyacinth

(Eichhornia crassipes)

Water Hyacinth

Status of water hyacinth in Tasmania

  • Water hyacinth is a declared weed in Tasmania under the Tasmanian Weed Management Act 1999. The importation, sale and distribution of water hyacinth are prohibited in Tasmania.
  • The legal responsibilities of landholders and other stakeholders in dealing with water hyacinth are laid out in the Water Hyacinth Statutory Weed Management Plan.

What does water hyacinth look like?

  • Water hyacinth is a perennial (long-lived) aquatic herb that forms masses of free floating clumps. A rosette of smooth, glossy and almost circular leaves arise from an erect stem which has bladder-like swellings allowing the plant to float on the water surface. Flower spikes to 50 cm long carry 3 to 35 flowers. The flowers are pale lilac and hyacinth-like, and the top-most flowers in the spike have a central yellow blotch. The roots are feathery, trail in the water and can grow to more than 1 metre long.
  • Water hyacinth spreads by seed carried in mud on the feet of birds or on boats, and vegetatively when fragments of the plant break off from an infestation and spread down-stream.
Water Hyacinth Flower Water Hyacinth Leaves
Water Hyacinth2 Water hyacinth - waterway
Image top: water hyacinth flower, © Louis M Landry.
Image above top left: water hyacinth flower, © Jeff Abbas.
Image above top right & above left: water hyacinth leaves, © Barry Rice.
Image above right: water hyacinth waterway infestation, © CDFA.

Impacts of water hyacinth

  • Water hyacinth can have severe environmental impacts including reducing water flow, loss of water through transpiration, and putrification of the water body.
  • Water hyacinth can block irrigation channels and impact on agriculture, disrupt hydro-electric generation, and restrict access to recreational water bodies.

Where does water hyacinth occur?

  • Water hyacinth is native to South America and prefers slow-moving, still or stagnant waters.
  • In Australia, water hyacinth has naturalised in all mainland states.
  • Water hyacinth has not managed to establish in Tasmania. However, the weed has been recorded in aquaria.

What you need to do

  • If you locate water hyacinth anywhere in Tasmania, or if you find a plant that you think could be water hyacinth , immediately contact Biosecurity Tasmania on 03 6165 3777 to report this weed.

See also
Water Hyacinth Statutory Weed Management Plan
Weed Links and Resources

Other useful links
Pest Genie

Important Disclaimer
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