Eichhornia crassipes, Water hyacinth
Water Hyacinth is an aquatic plant and is often considered a highly problematic invasive species. Flooding in parts of Mindanao has been attributed to the piling up of huge volumes of water hyacinths at a portion of the Rio Grande de Mindanao, blocking the flow of the river. Water hyacinth threatens the survival of other aquatic species because it blocks the sunlight's penetration into the water. They clog water-ways, making boating, fishing and almost all other water activities impossible.
But innovators have discovered the economic possibilities of this free-floating perennial. Small-scale cottage industries are utilizing water hyacinth in paper-making, the fiber from the stem can be made into rope, dried stalks are also woven into baskets, placemats, area rugs, furniture, even shoes and handbags. It can be used to aid the process of water purification because the roots naturally absorb pollutants; can also be used as an animal fodder and feed for fish, and it is ideal for composting. The stalks, according to DOST's Textile Research Institute, are a viable natural source of alternative textile material. I have seen cushions and home textiles made from water hyacinth fiber. It is also an excellent source of biomass.
It looks like this serious pest turns out to be a profitable crop after all.