The world’s worst aquatic weed is being sold locally as an ornamental plant, giving rise to the potential for an environmental disaster on our doorstep.
Wakool Shire Council Noxious Weeds Officer Stephen Battenally said Water hyacinth – or Eichhornia crassipes – infests rivers, dams, lakes and irrigation channels on every continent. It devastates aquatic environments and costs billions of dollars every year in control costs and economic losses.
Water hyacinth is a native of the Amazon basin in South America and was brought to Australia in the 1890s as an ornamental plant for ponds and aquaria. ‘Water hyacinth is capable of explosive rates of spread. Under favourable conditions it can double its mass every 5 days, forming new plants. It also grows from seed, which can remain viable for 20 years or longer,’ Mr Battenally said.
Most spread can be attributed to human use such as the deliberate planting of water hyacinth in ponds or dams as an ornamental, or use in aquariums. Unwanted plant material that is discarded into creeks, rivers and dams is a major mode of dispersal. Water hyacinth can also be spread by contaminated boating and waterway equipment.
Mr Battenally urges the local community to contact him should they discover an established plant. ‘It is very important to control this noxious weed species as soon as possible.
The implications of established plants within the Shire waterways could be devastating.’ Mr Battenally can be contacted at the Wakool Shire Council Moulamein office on (03)5887 5007.
For further information please access the DPI website on www.dpi.nsw.gov.au
- Wakool Shire Council - Noxious Weeds Officer
- Phone: 03 58875201
Water Hyacinth News Release (PDF 650KB)