Common Name: Water hyacinth
Scientific Name: Eichhornia crassipes
Nepali Name: Jal kumvi ( जल कुम्भी )
Size: 1-1.5m (height)
Location: Fewa Tal, Pokhara
A free-floating perennial aquatic plant, Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) is found in wetlands from 75m to 1500m elevation and is a problem in lakes like Fewa tal, Begnas etc here in Nepal. These invasive species can grow upto 1m and can double its population in two weeks. Water hyacinth is native to the Amazon basin and falls in the list of one of the worst invasive species in the world. This plant was introduced around the world for various reasons and one of them is because of the beautiful flower/ornamental plant.
Eichhornia crassipes grows very fast and the mats can double in size in one to two weeks to the point where it can cover the whole water surface. Every year a lot of resource is used to clean up the lakes and water surfaces where its been affecting. The invasion makes travelling through the water ways hard and the worst part is that it degrades the water quality, blocks the sunlight from reaching the native aquatic plant, becomes a good habitat for mosquitos, etc.
The flower blooms from April to November and is purple/lavender/light pink with six petals in which one bears a yellow spot. The flowers are on a single spike which holds up to 8 - 15 flowers. The leaves are 10-20cm ovate, thick and glossy which floats on buoyant bulb like nodules located at its base above the water surface. The plant reproduces primarily by way of runners or stolons, which eventually form daughter plants. Each plant additionally can produce thousands of seeds each year, and these seeds can remain viable.
Please feel free to comment below if the above species has been misidentified.