Spring Break 2023: Pontederia crassipes

Pontederia crassipes, the Common water hyacinth;
Lake county, Florida (11 March 2023).
Spring Break 2023

Water hyacinth, the green matte of vegetation you see here on Blackwater Creek, is native to South America but now well established throughout much of the world. In Florida, this invasive plant species can seriously clog up our freshwater systems and adversely affect native biodiversity. A preponderance of water hyacinth can actually reduce oxygen levels in the water. This in turn can thin out native fish populations and thus everything else that relies on the health of said fish populations (such as watersnakes). On this day, the water hyacinth wasn’t too overwhelming; I’ve seen it much worse here in years past.

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