Aquatic weed sold to Victorian residents

Water hyacinth is currently in bloom in some Victorian backyards but – as a State prohibited weed – poses a serious threat to Victorian waterways.

Agriculture Victoria biosecurity officers recently seized water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) from a stall at the Oakleigh Sunday Market on Atherton Road. However, the seller had purchased the plants from another stall at the same market, so the total number sold is unknown.

Agriculture Victoria Biosecurity Manager, Angela Constantine, said the sale of this aquatic State prohibited weed created the potential for it to spread throughout Victoria, which could have economic and environmental impacts on a large scale.

“Water hyacinth is one of the world’s worst aquatic weeds,” Ms Constantine said.

“It poses a serious threat if given the opportunity to spread into our waterways, so we need to rapidly and comprehensively respond to such incidents.

Water hyacinth is native to Brazil and is extremely invasive. It can form dense mats across waterways, rendering them unusable for irrigation, transport and recreation.

Infestations of water hyacinth can also kill fish and other aquatic life by preventing light from penetrating the water and by reducing oxygen levels.

“Although water hyacinth may appear an attractive plant in your backyard pond, the impacts it can have beyond your property are detrimental,” Ms Constantine said.

“The Victorian Government takes responsibility for the safe treatment, removal and disposal of water hyacinth plants, at no cost to the land owner.

“Please contact us to have this weed removed and play your part in ensuring Victoria’s biosecurity.”

Water hyacinth can be identified by its distinctive mauve flower and bulbous spongy stems. If you believe that you may have inadvertently purchased a water hyacinth plant from this market or elsewhere, please contact Agriculture Victoria on 136 186. Please do not attempt to remove and/or dispose of the plants yourself. Agriculture Victoria will remove the plants safely and free of charge.

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