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Hoa Lục Bình, Bèo Tây Eichhornia crassipes Solms Pontederiaceae
Image by Duy -Thuong
Lục-Bình. Một loài thân thảo trôi bồng bềnh trên các dòng sông. Đôi khi chúng dồn lại gây ách tắc giao thông. Nhà văn Sơn Nam đã viết bài Ba kiểu chạy buồm đăng trong Tạp chí Hương Quê :1/ Gió xuôi: Đốn tàu dừa nước cắm giữa xuồng làm buồm. 2/ Nước xuôi gió ngược: đốn cành cây cột vào mũi xuồng thả cây xuống nươc xuồng sẽ trôi theo dòng nước dù ngược gió. 3/ Gặp lục bình? Nếu ít thì vớt còn nếu dày đặc sông thì….Chỉ còn cách khiêng xuồng lên bờ mà đi .!
Lục bình (danh pháp khoa học: Eichhornia crassipes Solms) còn được gọi là Bèo tây, lộc bình, hay bèo Nhật Bản là một loài thực vật thuỷ sinh, thân thảo, sống nổi theo dòng nước, thuộc về chi Eichhornia của họ Họ Bèo tây (Pontederiaceae).
Cây bèo tây xuất xứ từ châu Nam Mỹ, du nhập Việt Nam khoảng năm 1905, do đó trong tiếng Việt mới có tên bèo tây. Còn tên bèo Nhật Bản vì có người cho là mang từ Nhật về. Lộc bình do cuống lá phình lên giống lọ lộc bình. Phù bình vì nó nổi trên mặt nước.
Cây bèo tây mọc cao khoảng 30cm với dạng lá hình tròn, màu xanh lục, láng và nhẵn mặt. Lá cuốn vào nhau như những cánh hoa. Cuống lá nở phình ra như bong bóng xốp ruột giúp cây bèo nổi trên mặt nước. Ba lá đài giống như ba cánh. Rễ bèo trông như lông vũ sắc đen buông rủ xuống nước, dài đến 1m.
Sang hè cây bèo nở hoa sắc tím nhạt, điểm chấm màu lam, cánh hoa trên có 1 đốt vàng. Có 6 nhuỵ gồm 3 dài 3 ngắn. Bầu thượng 3 ô đựng nhiều noãn, quả nang. Dò hoa đứng thẳng đưa hoa vươn cao lên khỏi túm lá.
Cây bèo tây sinh sản rất nhanh nên dễ làm nghẽn ao hồ, kinh rạch. Một cây mẹ có thể đẻ cây con, tăng số gấp đôi mỗi 2 tuần.
Trong y học dân gian
Tên thuốc thường gọi là Phù bình, lá và thân có vị ngọt cay, tính mát không độc, có tác dụng tiêu viêm giải độc lành da. Dùng tươi lá bèo đem giã với muối rồi đem đắp lên ung nhọt, khô thì thay miếng khác, nhiều lần sẽ làm giảm sưng. Nếu vết tấy bắt đầu nung mủ thì sẽ chóng vỡ mủ giảm đau. Dùng khô thân và lá phơi khô sao thơm khử thổ phối hợp với các vị thuốc khác chữa hạch cổ tràng nhạc
Hoa hơi ngọt, tính mát, có tác dụng an thần, lợi tiểu, giải độc, trừ phong nhiệt. Khi ho hen ho đàm hoặc ho gió, chưng một nắm hoa với đường phèn uống, kết hợp thêm hoa hoè hoa khế càng tốt. Người cao huyết áp mãn tính dùng hoa chế trà uống mỗi ngày cũng có tác dụng bình ổn
Những ứng dụng khác
Ở dạng tự nhiên, loại bèo này có tác dụng hấp thụ những kim loại nặng (như chì, thủy ngân và strontium) và vì thế có thể dùng để xử lý ô nhiễm môi trường
Bèo tây được sử dụng làm thức ăn cho gia súc, dùng ủ nấm rơm, làm phân chuồng.
Cây bèo tây còn có công dụng thủ công nghiệp. Xơ lục bình phơi khô có thể chế biến để dùng bện thành dây, thành thừng rồi dệt thành chiếu, hàng thủ công, hay bàn ghế.
Như mọi loài rau thôn dã, ngó lộc bình xào ngon không kém ngó sen. Đọt non và cuống lá nấu canh tép, cá lóc, tôm khô. Hoa luộc chấm cá kho hoặc xào thịt heo hay lòng heo đều ngon
1.^ Nguyen Van Duong. Medicinal Plants of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Santa Monica: Mekong, 1993.
2.^ Nguyen Van Duong. Medicinal Plants of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Santa Monica: Mekong, 1993.
1.Báo Tài hoa trẻ số 159 và phụ san Báo Khoa học phổ thông bài Vị thuốc trên sông của lương y Thái Thanh Nguyên
2.Tài liệu Cây thuốc và vị thuốc thuờng dùng của Đỗ Tất Lợi
The seven species of water hyacinth comprise the genus Eichhornia. Water hyacinth are a free-floating perennial aquatic plant native to tropical and sub-tropical South America. With broad, thick, glossy, ovate leaves, water hyacinth may rise above the surface of the water as much as 1 meter in height. The leaves are 10–20 cm across, and float above the water surface. They have long, spongy and bulbous stalks. The feathery, freely hanging roots are purple-black. An erect stalk supports a single spike of 8-15 conspicuously attractive flowers, mostly lavender to pink in colour with six petals. When not in bloom, water hyacinth may be mistaken for frog’s-bit (Limnobium spongia).
One of the fastest growing plants known, water hyacinth reproduces primarily by way of runners or stolons, which eventually form daughter plants. It also produces large quantities of seeds, and these are viable up to thirty years. The common water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) are vigorous growers known to double their population in two weeks.
In Assamese they are known as Meteka. In Sinhala they are known as Japan Jabara (ජපන් ජබර) due to their use in World War II to fool Japanese pilots into thinking lakes were fields usable to land their aircraft, leading to crashes. In Burmese they are known as Baydar.
In Southern Pakistan, they are the provincial flower of Sindh.
Invasiveness as an exotic plant
Water hyacinth has been widely introduced throughout North America, Asia, Australia and Africa. They can be found in large water areas such as Louisiana, or in the Kerala Backwaters in India. In many areas it, particularly E. crassipes, is an important and pernicious invasive species. First introduced to North America in 1884, an estimated 50 kilograms per square metre of hyacinth once choked Florida’s waterways, although the problem there has since been mitigated. When not controlled, water hyacinth will cover lakes and ponds entirely; this dramatically impacts water flow, blocks sunlight from reaching native aquatic plants, and starves the water of oxygen, often killing fish (or turtles). The plants also create a prime habitat for mosquitos, the classic vectors of disease, and a species of snail known to host a parasitic flatworm which causes schistosomiasis (snail fever). Directly blamed for starving subsistence farmers in Papua New Guinea, water hyacinth remains a major problem where effective control programs are not in place. Water hyacinth is often problematic in man-made ponds if uncontrolled, but can also provide a food source for gold fish, keep water clean and help to provide oxygen to man-made ponds.
Water hyacinth often invades bodies of water that have been impacted by human activities. For example, the plants can unbalance natural lifecycles in artificial reservoirs or in eutrophied lakes that receive large amounts of nutrients.
They are being found for the abundant plants, such as for cattle food and in biogas production. Recently, they have also begun to be used in wastewater treatment due to their fast growth and ability to tolerate high levels of pollution. Parts of the plant are also used in the production of traditional handicrafts in Southeast Asia. In Bangladesh, farmers have started producing fertilizer using Water Hyacinth or Kochuripana as it is known there locally.
As chemical and mechanical removal is often too expensive and ineffective, researchers have turned to biological control agents to deal with water hyacinth. The effort began in the 1970s when USDA researchers released three species of weevil known to feed on water hyacinth into the United States, Neochetina bruchi, N. eichhorniae, and the water hyacinth borer Sameodes albiguttalis. Although meeting with limited success, the weevils have since been released in more than 20 other countries. However, the most effective control method remains the control of excessive nutrients and prevention of the spread of this species.
In 2010 the insect Megamelus scutellaris was released by the Agricultural Research Service as a biological control for the invasive species Eichhornia crassipes, more commonly known as waterhyacinth. (United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, )
In May 2010 the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service released Megamelus scutellaris as a biological control insect for the invasive waterhyacinth species. Megamelus scutellaris is a small planthopper insect native to Argentina. Researchers have been studying the effects of the biological control agent in extensive host-range studies since 2006 and concluded that the insect is highly host-specific and will not pose a threat to any other plant population other than the targeted water hyacinth. Researchers also hope that the biological control will be more resilient than existing biological controls to the herbicides that are already in place to combat the invasive water hyacinth. 
Water hyacinth in Lake Victoria, Africa
Hyacinth-choked lakeshore at Ndere Island, Lake Victoria, Kenya
Botanists and gardeners carry plants with them in their travels, and experts suspect that this is how the water hyacinth came to East Africa in the 1980s. Its flowers are beautiful; it was probably brought over as an ornamental for garden ponds (United Nations News, 2000). The consensus is that Water Hyacinth entered Lake Victoria from Rwanda via the river Kagera (Ambrose 1997). The exact time and place of introduction has been debated, but the plant is native to South America, and therefore reached Lake Victoria due to human activity. It has spread prolifically, due to lack of natural enemies, an abundance of space, agreeable temperature conditions, and abundant nutrients (Opande et al., 2004). It increased rapidly between 1992–1998, was greatly reduced by 2001, and has since resurged to a lesser degree. Management techniques include (hyacinth-eating) insect controls and manual beach cleanup efforts (Kateregga/Sterner 2007]). A water hyacinth infestation is seldom totally eradicated. Instead, it is a situation that must be continually managed (LVEMP, 2004 ) (United Nations News, 2000)).
Water Hyacinth affects the Lake Victorian population in many negative ways. There are economic impacts when the weed blocks boat access. The effects on transportation and fishing are immediately felt. Where the weed is prolific, there is a general increase in several diseases, as the weed creates excellent breeding areas for mosquitoes and other insects. There are increased incidents of skin rash, cough, malaria, encephalitis, bilharzias, gastro intestinal disorders, and schistosomiasis. Water hyacinth also interferes with water treatment, irrigation, and water supply (Opande et al., 2004)). It can smother aquatic life by deoxygenating the water, and it reduces nutrients for young fish in sheltered bays. It has blocked supply intakes for the hydroelectric plant, interrupting electrical power for entire cities. The weed also interrupts local subsistence fishing, blocking access to the beaches (LVEMP, 2004).
Since the plant has abundant nitrogen content, it can be used a substrate for biogas production and the sludge obtained from the biogas. However, due to easy accumulation of toxins, the plant is prone to get contaminated when used as feed.
The plant is extremely tolerant of, and has a high capacity for, the uptake of heavy metals, including Cd, Cr, Co, Ni, Pb and Hg, which could make it suitable for the biocleaning of industrial wastewater In addition to heavy metals, Eichhornia crassipes can also remove other toxins, such as cyanide, which is environmentally beneficial in areas that have endured gold mining operations.
Water hyacinth removes arsenic from arsenic contaminated drinking water. It may be a useful tool in removing arsenic from tube well water in Bangladesh.
Water hyacinth is also observed to enhance nitrification in waste water treatment cells of living technology. Their root zones are superb micro-sites for bacterial communities
Ask a pond owner about Water Hyacinth and he or she will immediately attest to the marvelous benefits of this floating tropical plant…or lambaste it for its wandering ways. You see, this tropical floating plant is banned in many southern states. It’s so aggressive it clogs water-ways.
For midwest and northern ponds, Hyacinth may be a blessing in disguise. Sure these floaters spread quickly and may choke out other plants, if you don’t remove them. But a lot of pond owners swear by their ability to clean up the water. Hyacinth’s roots, which dip two to three inches below the surface, remove nutrients from the water…nutrients that feed algae and cloud once crystal clear water. A great place for Hyacinth is the water fall bed. It will help your biological or mechanical filter do its job. And fish love to eat the roots!
The green almost succulent foliage of the Hyacinth is beautiful by itself. But add the tall purple flowers in mid to late summer, and it resembles a meadow in your pond. One way to prevent these spreaders from multiplying is to tie a string around the area where you want to contain them, about 2 inches above the water surface. And if you go on vacation, make sure you pull some out before you leave, because you might find they have taken over the pond when you return.
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Even if you don’t live in the south, plant Water Hyacinth with care. When you remove the plants from your pond, don’t throw them into a natural water-way. Instead put them in your compost pile.
Hyacinth act somewhat like a filtration system. When they take off, murky or green pond water becomes clear again. Because these natives of the Amazon start to die off when water temparatures dip below 65 degrees, you might want to over-winter them in a bowl of water indoors. The trick here is to buy the strongest grow light you can find and place the pot in a very sunny window. Unless you have fish in the bowl, you’ll need to supplement the water with aquatic fertilizer.
If you don’t want to bother over wintering Hyacinth, they are easy to buy in the spring. Either on-line or at a local pond store, usually for less than ten dollars a plant. To find out whether your state allows this intriguing plant, check with the US Department of Agriculture.
Read more at Suite101: Water Hyacinth: A Pond Plant That May Float Your Troubles Away..or Cause New Ones | Suite101.com www.suite101.com/content/water-hyacinth-a28564#ixzz1MgluEEWG
Valley Below Kebnekaise
Image by svoisen
I regretted having only my iPhone with my on this 5-day solo hike through the mountains north of the Arctic Circle in Sweden. There was so much beautiful scenery to capture, but Day 4 – the approach to Kebnekaise – was arguably the best.
The water is so pure here, no filtration is required. I lunched, snapped a few photos, and took my fill of crystal-clear ice-cold glacier water here before heading on my way.
Lochan Na h’Achlaise – Light and Dark
Image by Tim Parkin
This is a black and white (no shit sherlock!) which is the only image I planned as such on the whole holiday. Unfortunately I didn’t take it as a large format because of my lack of confidence whether the ‘view’ would work. Coming back and seeing it in black and white made me realise that at least I have the potential to recognise pictures with this particular abstraction (although I don’t know anything about filtration for black and white!).. The things I saw when taking the photograph were the highlights in the water reflected from some large white fluffy clouds high in the sky, the shape of the islands (a sort of reverse S shape in the water) and the subtle tones in the sky and the plants on the islands. The tree was a focal point that I had problems positioning to make it work with the S shape still intact.. Hopefully you eye returns to the tree despite it’s size..