The Blue Plague


In 1820, a German professor, Karl Friedrich Eichhorn found in Brazil, unknown tropical plant — an extraordinarily beautiful blue flower — hyacinth river. Later flower got another name — "Blue Plague". This undemanding plant thrives in moist soil or in water. Its stem resembles a sponge, retaining the air bubbles and helps the flower to stay afloat.

River hyacinth extremely prolific: in one year graft can give up to 150,000 sprouts! Having entered into the body of water, the plant grows rapidly and forms a dense interweaving of stems and roots that can withstand even the man. Gradually, it occupies a lake, river or canal, prevents navigation and killing fish, stopping the flow of oxygen in the water …

In 1884, the river hyacinth exhibited at the Great Exhibition of flowers in New Orleans, where he saw a Mrs. Fuller. Fascinated by soft blue and pale lilac flowers of exotic plants, this lady has planted three copies of his estate in a pond near the town of St. Augustine. Soon the pond was like a fairy flower bed, and Mrs. Fuller has decided to bestow its neighbors. She slowly dropped her a few favorite plants in the St. Johns River and began to wait patiently …

In ten years, millions of acres of rivers and canals in Florida were covered with beautiful solid carpet of blue inflorescences. By 1899, navigation on the Mississippi has become extremely difficult. Since the measures taken by the authorities for the destruction of river hyacinth are ineffective, called on the army to help. Many hundreds of soldiers were cut and pulled out an insidious plant, but it did not help. Then the troops used dynamite. But fragments of plants echoed over and hyacinth river exciting new space faster than it destroyed. The military, with the approval of the authorities, they decided on an extreme step — in Mississippi flew tons of arsenic! The river carried into the ocean thousands of faded blue flowers with a dead fish, birds and all kinds of animals. But less than a year, from small streams, canals and ponds hyacinth once again hit the Mississippi. Shipping companies and fishermen were again involved in a fight with an unusually tenacious plant, nicknamed "The Blue Plague."

After the Second World War, when the passions chemical means of weed control, they tried hyacinth on the river. For the final victory in the battle with the "blue plague" of power even reconciled with the poisoning of the local flora and fauna. But it was enough to stop spraying herbicide in a few months, the surface of rivers and lakes covered with blue carpet again …

Not only America was the victim of a Brazilian flower — hyacinth river appeared on Australian waters, where it was brought by an unknown lover of exotic flora. From there he moved to flower Indonesia and Indochina. Once in West Bengal, "blue plague" has captured the entire coast of the Bay of Bengal, and quickly moved up the Ganges. "Traveler" made it to China, appeared in Madagascar … In Asia, hyacinth river turned into a crop. The Chinese and Vietnamese were specially bred this plant and feed it to the pigs. Floating blue flowers relished the buffalo.

Hyacinth river penetrated into Africa. It was first noticed in the river Congo in Leopoldville. Soon the "blue plague" full flower bloomed throughout the Black Continent. And in the dissemination of Brazilian guests played a significant role traffickers exotic flowers that ignored the official ban on its cultivation. Five years after its introduction in Sudan river hyacinth expelled from their homes entire fishing village. Sudanese first complained to the expansion of the "blue plague" at FAO — UN organization for food and agriculture. After consulting with experts around the world, the organization declared a general campaign to eradicate "blue plague". "

By order of the FAO Indian scientist Rao went to the lower reaches of the Amazon to study the insects that graze on the river hyacinth, hoping to find a way to curb the "Blue Plague". Alas, the expedition was not a success. Professor of the Paris Museum of Natural History Portes pointed out the only way — to wait. Wrestling, he asserted, is useless — the plant will win. However, its "aggression" can not continue indefinitely — eventually there will come a biological balance. So you just need to be patient. The professor was right! In little more than twenty years, and the "blue tent" around the world retreated.

Author: NN Nepomnyashchii | Source: 100 great mysteries of nature

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