Abstract

Introduction. The water lily (Eichhornia crassipes) is a free-floating hydrophytic plant of the Pontederiaceae family. It is one of the aquatic plants with the best reproduction and growth rate, so it spreads and forms mats that constrict submerged and floating native plants, reduces the entry of light into bodies of water and decreases the dissolved oxygen in the water. Objective. To carry out a comprehensive review of the water lily that allows the scientific community a better understanding of an invasive species, as well as the effects it causes on the ecosystem. Development. The invasive capacity of this plant endangers various ecosystems, as it takes advantage of nutrient-rich waters. In addition, the dense floating colonies cause the oxygen content to drop to zero below its mantle, causing damage to the ecosystems. Conclusions. The water lily is one of the most invasive aquatic plants in the world, causing ecological and socio-economic effects. This plant has been used as a phytoremediator, in the removal of organophosphates, which indicates that it can be used to clean sewage. Furthermore, it can be used in the production of ethanol, paper, compost, biogas, human food, animal fodder, fiber, and in the extraction of volatile fatty acids.

Keywords: Eichhornia crassipes, hydrophytic plants, invasive species