A recent post on the Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog by Luigi set me thinking (ouch!) about water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), weeds in general and the useful things it’s possible to do with them. Luigi tells us about a magazine rack that he bought in Nairobi that was made from fibres of the invasive aquatic weed. It’s certainly encouraging that a plant which has such a negative impact on waterways around the world can be put to good use! Many weeds are fast growing and tenacious species. Could it be that, used in the right ways, plants such as water hyacinth be of benefit to the world?
Mathur et al. (2005) discuss the potential uses of water hyacinth fibre. Trivedy and Thomas (2005) and El Gendy et al. (2006) focus on Eichhornia‘s suitability for bioremediation applications, using it to absorb metals from landfill water for example.
Both articles are in the CAB Abstracts database and subscribers can use search terms like ‘water hyacinth, Eichhornia crassipes, fibre and uses’.
El Gendy, A. S. , Biswas, N. , Bewtra, J. K.; "Municipal landfill leachate treatment for metal removal using water hyacinth in a floating aquatic system"; Water Environment Research, 2006, Vol. 78, No. 9, pp. 951-964.
Mathur, S. M. , Mathur, A. N. , Bhatt, Y. C.; "Water hyacinth – threat to environment or boon in disguise"; Aquatic weeds: problems, control and management, 2005, pp. 127-138.
Trivedy, R. K. , Thomas, S.; "Water hyacinth for pollution control and resource recovery"; Aquatic weeds: problems, control and management, 2005, pp. 155-171.