A family of monocotyledonous (see monocotyledon) freshwater, aquatic plants. The leaves have sheathing bases, often petiolate. The flowers are blue, lilac, yellow or white, with 6 perianth segments, often borne in a showy inflorescence enclosed by a spathelike sheath. The fruit is a capsule or nutlet. The free-floating water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) is probably the world's most serious aquatic weed. Other species are grown as aquatic ornamentals. There are 7 genera, comprising 29 species, occurring in the tropics and subtropics, especially America.
Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry.