Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Half way between Tel Aviv and Haifa, near the town of Natanya, there is a small swamp. Its slopes are overgrown with dense thickets, thistles and brushwood, it is very hard to climb down to it. Three weeks ago my husband tried to reach it. Our dog Dafi was with him and he realized after some minutes that this would be much too hard on her, she is not young any more. Of course she would have followed him faithfully, nevertheless he took pity on her and returned home. But down there in that stretch of quagmire happens to bloom a miracle flower in recent weeks, which left him no peace. He had heard about it, and he had gotten a glimpse of it the first time, and now he wanted to go back there with his camera and bring proof of this beauty home. 
So a week later off he went again, this time without the dog. He somehow mastered the descent. Luckily he had taken my hiking stick from the car with him, which saved him from a wet slip. He just went step after step and when the stick suddenly went deeper down into plain water, he just stopped, stood still and photographed. He came home scratched and bruised, but look how worthwhile it was!

Those are absolute marvelous,  gorgeous,  outstanding plants,  floating on the water, their blossoms big like a fist, growing on a fat stem, the delicate petals in very light purple color, adorned with dark purple patterns and lines, and with a yellow dot. The leaves are heavy and fleshy. It is said the growth gets so compact that a person could walk on it. My husband did not try this!

Water Hyacinth - Eichhornia crassipes - yakinton ha maim, יקינטון המים in Hebrew - yes it is very pretty! But why did I call it a devil flower? It belongs to the group of invasive plants, and wherever it invades there is no going back to normal habitat. It is native to the Amazon basin in South America, and was brought to Africa because of its beauty. It has become a real plague in this continent. Since the sixties of last century it has spread over large regions of the Nile and causes serious problems. It claimed as well territory in Lake Victoria and is reported to be a big nuisance in Ethiopia, and in other countries of the world, including Australia. It threatens the Eco system and is very difficult to control and destroy. It grows very fast, it can double its population in two weeks.

If you have a pond in your garden - ahhhhhhh no, don't dare! Don't get lured by this adorable beauty, it will overgrow and destroy your pond in no time!

Water Hyacinth had occupied areas in the Yarkon River here in Israel sixty years ago and was fought vehemently and destroyed by the nature authorities. Today it can be found in isolated small swamps and is watched very carefully.

All photos taken by Uri Eshkar, please zoom in to get the full benefit!


Dawn of LaTouchables said...

I was astonished when first looking at these sirens luring sailors to their death!

Uri surely was brave to go out there alone and take these photos. They are beautiful!

Barb said...

What fabulous photos and what a pity this loveliness is so invasive! Thanks to your intrepid husband for braving the hike down to the swamp.

Terri said...

I've always loved them, so beautiful - so dangerous! Here in California it is do dangerous. It clogs waterways to boaters and irrigation, too. Still - so pretty. Thanks for sharing Uri's adventure and pictures.

Hilde said...

I was stunned when I saw the photos. What a beauty, the water hyacinth is absolutely gorgeous! What a pity that it is so invasive... and good that they are watching it closely.

I loved seeing it and reading about it, thanks for this interesting and beautiful post, Yael. Your husband's photos are absolutely marvellous.
Hugs :)

Eva said...

Your husband is a hero. What an adventure to climb there and take the pictures! Real passion. And he did take amazing pictures. Thank you for sharing and for the story. How evil beauties can be...

rachel awes said...

these are incredible!!!
yael...they could be in one of your stories about the journey to beauty...XOX

Bob Bushell said...

What a glorious picture, I love them.

Annuk said...

The flowers are so wonderful... what a pity to hear they are so invasive. But I always think that Nature is perfect and probably the species was introduced by man to areas where it wasn't meant to be and is now conflicting with the native species, like it happened with many other species in both the vegetal and animal world...
Wonderful photos, Uri!!!

Red Rose. said...

I am so glad to visit you again.
Those water hyacinth are beautiful!Do not be surprised, Yael. I have water hyacinth in a water basin placed in my garden. They are growing and growing now.Thanks to the flowers,the water in the basin is purified and our killifish,medaka, are living in it!


Smilla said...

Oh wie traumhaft!! Gibst du ein dickes Kompliment an deinen cheri weiter?
Ich hoffe, dass es dir in Sachen Rûckenschmerzen wieder besser geht und grüsse dich ganz ♥-lich

Lisa said...

Water Hyacinth is surely a devil woman! .. wow amazing beauty yet so deceptive .. hey I know some people like that .. ♦♦♦

Have a wonderful weekend!!!

Pesky Cat Designs said...

Such a shame, so beautiful yet so deadly. The inside almost looks like a peacock feather. You husband has captured its allure in his amazing photos!

Clare said...

I like the anology to a sirening luring the sailor with her beauty. These flowers are truely magnificent. I remember when I was a girl we used to go for picnics at a beautiful dam, but the water hyacinths took over and I'm not sure if the problem was ever solved, it was amazing at the speed that the plant took over the whole dam. But the beauty is enticing!

Friko said...

You are right, it is a beauty, but as beauty goes, this one is not to be trusted. Many invasive plants colonise new lands because careless plant growers don't learn enough about them beforehand.
We suffer from quite a few invaders in the UK too which threaten the eco system. Plants as well as creatures.



Bernstein said...

Hi Yael,
die Bilder der Wasserhyazinthe sind einfach nur zauberhaft. Wie wunderschön die Blüten sind. In meinem Wassergärtchen mögen sie leider nicht blühen, aber nun hab` ich wenigstens einen Hauch von Ahnung, wie es aussehen könnte.
Ich habe auch gesehen, dass Du unglaublich fleißig bist und Dir ganz wunderbare Taschen gelungen sind. Ich staune und bewundere und habe alle Achtung vor Deinem Talent.
Sei aufs herzlichste gegrüßt