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Pontederia crassipes Mart.

Family Name: Pontederiaceae
Synonyms: Eichhornia crassipes, Eichhornia crassicaulis, Pontederia elongata
Common Name: Lilac Devil, Water Hyacinth, Kemeling Telur, Common Water Hyacinth
Full Sun Lots of Water Ornamental Flowers Aquatic Shrub


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants)
Plant Growth Form Shrub, Aquatic & Hydrophyte (Floating)
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Distribution Tropical America
Native Habitat Aquatic
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Exotic

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Floating, aquatic plant reaching up to 0.5 m wide.
Roots Fibrous roots are long and feathery.
Foliage Large, roundish leaves are slightly cupped, smooth and glossy with entire leaf margin. The leaf stalk is filled with air and helps to keep the plant afloat.
Flowers Light purple to blue flowers are arranged on a spike inflorescence. The top petal has a yellow, oval-shaped center surrounded by distinct, dark purple lines that originate from the base, radiate outwards and branch toward the middle and outer edges of the petal. The inflorescence perched on a long stalk can reach up to 0.6 m tall.
Fruits Fruit is a capsule that contains 3 compartments filled with small, ribbed seeds.
Cultivation This species can be grown in soil or water. The leaf stalk will be short and round in water, but long and thin in soil.
Ethnobotanical Uses [Others]: In rural areas, the leaves are used as pig feed. It has strong phytoremediation potential, because it absorbs many types of pollutants, such as lead, zinc, nickel, mercury, chromium, and arsenic. It also absorbs the nutrients nitrogen and phosphorous which are detrimental to the environment at excess levels. Research is being conducted on using this plant to treat sewage waste. In Cambodia, the leaf stalks are dried and weaved together to make various products, like baskets and table mats.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers
Landscape Uses Pond / Lake / River, Phytoremediation

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Lots of Water
Propagation Method Seed, Stolon / Runner


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Rosulate / Rosette
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Orbicular / Round)
Foliar Venation Parallel
Foliar Margin Entire - Wavy / Undulate
Foliar Apex - Tip Rounded
Foliar Base Rounded / Obtuse
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 3.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Monocot)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Purple, Blue
Flower Texture(s) Smooth
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Terminal
Flower Symmetry Bilateral
Individual Flower Shape Stellate / Star-shaped
Inflorescence Type Spike

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Dehiscent Dry Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Capsule
Mature Seed Texture(s) Ridged / Corrugated


References Yong J, Tan PY, Nor Hafiz Hassan, Tan SN. 2010. A Selection of Plants for Greening of Waterways and Waterbodies in the Tropics. Singapore: Chung Printing . 480 pp.

Image Repository



Master ID 689
Species ID 1984
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 30 June 2022.