AGRICULTURE Victoria is on the lookout for water hyacinth following a seizure of the state-prohibited weed in Melbourne.
Biosecurity officers from the agency recently= seized examples of the aquatic weed (Eichhornia crassipes), which poses a serious threat to Victorian waterways, at the Oakleigh Sunday Market.
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 the 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.
“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, phone Agriculture Victoria on 136 186.
Do not attempt to remove and/or dispose of the plants yourself. Agriculture Victoria will remove the plants safely and free of charge.
For more information about water hyacinth and invasive plant management, head to agriculture.vic.gov.au or call the Customer Service Centre on 13 61 86.