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Unmanageable Beauty The Water Hyacinth
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Water hyacinth, eichhornia crassipes, is a free-floating perennial aquatic plant native to the tropical(hot and humid) and subtropical (hot and dry) areas of South America. It is one of the fastest growing plants known and can double its population every two weeks. The flowers are large and beautiful, mostly lavender to pink, with yellow and deeper lavender-blue centers, similar in appearance to some irises. Its beauty has encouraged humans to export it all over the world as a decorative plant. While beautyfying water gardens, improper disposal and natural spread in natural ponds, lakes and waterways has caused immeasurable problems, since it has choked boat traffic, and starved native plants and fish, while providing prime habitat for mosquitoes and other disease-carrying vectors. The problems began in USA by 1885, but have since been brought under control by various means, though the problem is ongoing here and in warm climates worldwide. On the upside, the plants provide food for goldfish, keep water clean and provide oxygen to man-made ponds. The stems can be made into fibers suitable for braiding, softer and more supple than wicker or rattan, and are made into attractive furniture by several firms. If there�s any moral here, it�s to be ever-wary of one�s infatuations, and to look further than skin-deep qualities before that �beauty� is invited into one�s life.
July 31st, 2013
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