Unwanted beauty

It is said that one person’s trash is another’s treasure. I guess you can also paraphrase it as one person’s weed is another person’s flower.


Water hyacinth is a invasive species of floating plant from South America that has invaded the San Joaquin Delta. It’s been around for about 100 years, and in some of those years its infestation is worse than others. This past year seemed to be a particularly bad one. During the late spring and summer months, the plant’s population seems to explode and can last into fall. They can clog boat ramps and waterways with a carpet so thick that it can look like you can walk across it on foot.

But as bad as the hyacinth can be, it also has a beautiful flower. Its large blossom, 3 to 4 inches in diameter, is star-shaped with 6 large light lavender petals. The petal at the top has a large dark blue/purple spot on it with a smaller splash of yellow in the center of that spot. If you ignore the disadvantages of the plant, the flower is quite lovely.

With winter’s cold temperatures the area’s water hyacinths are dying off, taking with them their annoyances and hazards – but also their beauty.

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  • Blog Author

    Clifford Oto

    Clifford Oto, an award-winning photographer, has been with The Record since 1984. Through the changes from black and white to digital photography, he’s kept his focus on covering the events, people and life of San Joaquin county. This blog deals ... Read Full
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