Water hyacinth is a free-floating perennial plant native to tropical and sub-tropical America. With broad, thick, glossy, ovate leaves, water hyacinth may rise above the surface of the water as much as 1 meter in height. The are 10–20 cm across, and float above the water surface. They have long, spongy and bulbous stalks. The feathery, freely hanging roots are purple-black. An erect stalk supports a single spike of 8-15 conspicuously attractive , mostly lavender to pink in colour with six petals. When not in bloom, water hyacinth may be mistaken for (Limnobium spongia).
One of the fastest growing plants known, water hyacinth reproduces primarily by way of runners or , which eventually form daughter plants. It also produces large quantities of seeds, and these are viable up to thirty years. The common water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) are vigorous growers known to double their population in two weeks.
In they are known as Meteka. In they are known as Japan Jabara (ජපන් ජබර) due to their use in War II to fool Japanese pilots into thinking lakes were fields usable to land their aircraft, leading to crashes. In they are known as Baydar.
In Southern Pakistan, they are the provincial flower of . In the Philippines, they use some of the water hyacinth's stems and dry it to take its fibers and take them to form strands of string each. These pieces of string are woven or interlinked together to form a braid or cord used for making bags, footwear, wreaths, hats, vases, Christmas lanterns, and more decorative materials.
Because water hyacinth are prolific to the point of being a nuisance, this lets the people earn money by selling these products for a living while cleaning up the overpopulated bodies of water that are full of water hyacinth.