Water Hyacinth

Water hyacinth (eichhornia crassipes), is a free-floating aquatic invasive plant native to South America. It was intentionally introduced to the US in the 1880s via the aquatic gardening industry. It was detected and eradicated from the Black River Bay in Jefferson County, NY in 2015. 


Water hyacinth populations grow quickly, in some cases doubling in size within a week. Populations from thick floating mats that impede boating and other aquatic recreation. The mats shade out aquatic vegetation reducing species biodiversity in the ecosystem. The presence of water hyacinth also reduces the amount of open water available for waterfowl and serves as a breeding habitat for mosquitoes. 


Water hyacinth has spiked purple flowers with 6 petals one of which has a decorative yellow dot surrounded by shades of purple. Its leaves are green with a glossy appearance and are a curved rounded shape. Leaves are attached to spongy petioles that float on water.   


Manual removal is effective for small populations. Larger infestations are better managed using a mechanical harvester or herbicides approved for aquatic use. There are weevils, moths, and planthoppers that are used as biocontrols for water hyacinth, learn more about these options here

Photo Credits:

Shaun Winterton, Barry Rice, and Leslie J. Mehrhoff from 

Prevent the introduction of invasive species into the SLELO PRISM.

Rapidly detect new and recent invaders and eliminate all individuals within a specific area.

Share resources, including funding personnel, equipment, information, and expertise.

Collect, utilize, and share information regarding surveys, infestations, control methods, monitoring, and research.

Control invasive species infestations by using best management practices, methods and techniques to include: ERADICATION (which is to eliminate all individuals and the seed bank from an area), CONTAINMENT (which is reducing the spread of established infestations from entering an uninfested area) and SUPPRESSION which is to reduce the density but not necessarily the total infested area.

Develop and implement effective restoration methods for areas that have been degraded by invasive species and where suppression or control has taken place.

Increase public awareness and understanding of invasive species.

Develop and implement innovative technologies that help us to better understand, visualize, alleviate or manage invasive species and their impacts or that serve to strengthen ecosystem function and/or processes.

Rob Williams
PRISM Coordinator

Megan Pistolese
Outreach and Education

Brittney Rogers
Aquatic Invasive Species

Robert Smith
Terrestrial Invasive Species