Jacinto de Agua / Water Hyacinth
The Jacinto de Auga is a perennial water plant that is an unwanted invader when outside of its native habitat. This water plant grows rapidly and can be a tremendous nuisance. The thick green plant can obstruct the waterways and prevent light from penetrating the water depleting oxygen for the underwater environments. It is deemed to be one of the worst invasive weeds in the world.
About The Jacinto de Auga | Uses For The Water Hyacinth | Environmental Impact of Jacinto de Auga to the Dominican Republic
Information About The Jacinto de Auga also known as the Water Hyacinth
The free-floating aquatic plant is known as Jacinto de auga, Flor de agua, la Turbia, Camalote, in English is the common water hyacinth. The scientific name is Eichhornia crassipes. Its origin is the Amazon water basin. Now, it is found throughout South America.
The plant is extremely invasive and is exceedingly difficult and maybe impossible to eliminate once it gets ahold. It grows rapidly (it can double in size in just 2 weeks) being one of the fastest growing plants ever. The water hyacinth produces thousands of seeds that can live for over 28 years. The plant rarely attaches itself to the ground. It floats freely with its long roots dangling down from the green plant. The new plants grow off the mother plant through runners or stolons.
The flower of the water Hyacinth is lovely. It grows on a long stalk. The small flowers are lavender to a pinkish color.
These invasive plants cannot survive in saltwater. Once they work their way down rivers and end up in the sea, they die off.
Uses For The Water Hyacinth
There are some positive aspects of the fast-growing Jacinto de Auga. The roots absorb waste and pollutants and convert carbon dioxide to oxygen. They can be made into fuel. The water hyacinth is also excellent for use as compost. More and more uses for the fast growing water plant are being researched and discovered.
Environmental Impact of Jacinto de Auga to the Dominican Republic
In the Dominican Republic, the Jacinto de Auga is a nuisance. It obstructs the waterways making it difficult for boats to pass through. After a rain, it breaks loose and works its way down the rivers it has invaded. The green cover makes a good hiding place for some fish species. The issue is that the water hyacinth is also a trash collector. Inside the bright green leaves garbage collects. In Santo Domingo, the plant and the garbage it carries collects behind the Puente Flotante / Floating Bridge.
The bridge needs to be opened so the Dirección General de Dragas, Presas y Balizamiento de la Armada de República Dominicana (General Directorate of Dredgers, Dams and Lighthouses of the Navy of the Dominican Republic) can push the plants down to the Caribbean Sea where they die from the saltwater. The garbage, plastic and other trash is released to float freely, contaminating the local city beaches. The waste then floats out to sea adding to the giant trash islands in our oceans.