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Common water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)

Enceng gondok or common water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) is a free-floating perennial aquatic plant species in Pontederiaceae, sometimes rooted in the soil, has no stem and has a high growth rate and easily spreads through waterways in tropical and sub-tropical regions.

E. crassipes has wide, thick, shiny, ovoid leaves that can rise above the surface of water as high as 1 meter. The leaves extend to 10-20 cm on stems that float with a bulb to float above the water surface, long stems, sponges and rounded.

Dlium Common water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)

Fibrous roots, free of hanging and purple-black. The upright stalk supports a single flower, most of which is mauve to pink with six petals. Grows in tropical to subtropical deserts or warm temperate desert to the rainforest zone, minimum temperature 12-35C and pH 5.0-7.5.

Azotobacter chroococcum as a nitrogen-fixing bacterium is concentrated around the base of the petiole, but does not repair nitrogen unless the plant suffers from extreme nitrogen deficiency. Fresh plants contain prickly crystals, HCN, alkaloids, triterpenoids and can cause itching.

Common water hyacinth is one of the fastest growing plants, reproducing mainly through stolons which eventually form buds. Each plant can also produce thousands of seeds every year and these seeds can last more than 28 years.

The flowers are pollinated by long-tongued bees and can reproduce both sexually and clonally. The level of invasive and the ability to clone oneself and most of the spots tend to be part of the same genetic form.



Enceng gondok grow in shallow ponds, wet and swampy soil, slow flow of water, lakes, water reservoirs and rivers. This plant can adapt to extreme changes in water levels, currents and changes in nutrient availability, pH, temperature and toxins in water.

Rapid growth is mainly caused by water containing high nutrients, especially rich in nitrogen, phosphate and potassium. Salt content can inhibit growth where these plants will increase throughout the rainy season and decrease when the salt content rises in the dry season.

E. crassipes is widely regarded as a weed that increases evapotranspiration which has broad leaves and rapid growth, decreases the intensity of light into the waters which causes dissolved oxygens and dead plants will descend to the bottom of the waters which accelerates silting.

These plants also often disrupt water transportation, especially for people still dependent on rivers, increase habitat for human disease vectors and reduce the aesthetic value of the aquatic environment.

Even so many people use E. crassipes for paper making materials, compost, biogas, furniture, handicrafts, as a growth medium for straw mushrooms etc.

Common water hyacinth also plays a role in capturing heavy metal pollutants including cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), and nickel (Ni) respectively 1.35 mg/g, 1.77 mg/g, and 1.16 mg/g. They also absorb chromium (Cr) up to 51.85 percent at pH 7. Also able to absorb pesticide residues.

Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Commelinales
Family: Pontederiaceae
Genus: Eichhornia
Species: E. crassipes

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