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University of Minnesota Extension

Water hyacinth

Quick facts

Water hyacinth is a regulated invasive species. Species are legal to buy, sell, transport, and possess, but may not be introduced into a free-living state, such as released into public waters.

  • Water hyacinth can produce large floating mats of dense vegetation, which reduce light penetration, impede recreation, and produce mosquito breeding habitat.

Water hyacinth should be reported. See the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recommendations for reporting invasive species.

cluster of water hyacinth on pond

How to identify water hyacinth

  • Water hyacinth (Eichornia crassipes) is a free-floating plant with clusters of waxy leaves.
Water hyacinth


  • Broad, rounded leaves with inflated bases form free-floating rosettes.
  • Leaves are glossy, and can be up to twelve inches long from base to tip and up to six inches wide.


  • Showy purple flowers in clusters on a spike held above plant.
  • Upper lobe has darkened spot with a yellow center.
Water hyacinth flower


  • Long, dark roots dangle below the plant.
  • Roots are highly divided and feather-like in appearance.


Angela Gupta, Extension educator; Amy Rager, Extension educator; Megan M. Weber, Extension educator

Reviewed in 2019

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