Water Hyacinths in Africa and Asia

  • Arne Jernelöv


Water hyacinth is a floating, flowering plant, native to South America. After its introduction to Africa and Asia, the water hyacinth mass-developed in many bodies of water and became a major obstacle to navigation and fishing. The ecological effects of the huge, thick mats of floating plants involved anoxia under them and multiple hiding places among the roots and underwater leaves for anything from mosquito larvae, bilharzia-infected snails, and small fishes. Biological control, primarily with the Neochetina weevils, has turned the water hyacinth menace into a practically manageable problem, using physical and occasionally chemical control as temporary complementary measures. A number of usages of the plant have also become plusses in the socioeconomic balance, even if they (so far) don’t outweigh the economic losses in most places.


Water hyacinths Invasive Africa Asia Ecological effects Economic effects Weevils Usages 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arne Jernelöv
    • 1
  1. 1.Swedish Institute for Future StudiesJarpasSweden

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