Plants: Beautiful Nuisance

Flowered spikes of lavender blossoms give the water hyacinth a distinctly delicate air. But no aquatic plant is healthier or hardier. Few multiply as fast; in the summer months in the tropics, the hyacinth doubles its number once every 30 days. The plant is so prolific that once it takes hold, floating carpets choke rivers, canals, lakes and bayous. It hinders boat traffic and uses up oxygen needed by fish. After years of trying to keep the hyacinth at bay, a group of weed-control experts and navigation engineers—the Hyacinth Control Society—met in Palm Beach to discuss their few successes...

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