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One for the Ladies

One for the Ladies
Photo Information
Copyright: Loot Eksteen (loot) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
Genre: Plants
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2010-01-30
Categories: Flowers
Camera: Canon EOS 450D, Canon 100-400mm EF f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, Digital ISO 200
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/400 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Flowers, plants and fungi of Southern Africa, Flower Power, A study in Botany (plants) 1, Flower(pink)II, My Dedications ;o), Favorite Flora, Soft on the eye images, Pretty - Perfect - Picture [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2010-02-04 18:29
Viewed: 7629
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 70
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Common Water Hyacinth - Eichhornia crassipes

I have not photographed many flowers these past couple of years, but when I captured this shot I straight away knew that there is only one thing to do with it and that is to dedicate this beautiful flower to all the wonderful ladies on this site. Ok, it isn't a bunch of red roses or a bouquet of exotic orchids, but I hope you like it never the less. The image was captured last Saturday morning at the Redding Dam, ±10km outside my hometown, Empangeni.

The past 2 weeks I didn't have much time on hand as I was engaged with the final preparations for the big project I've been busy with for the past 1½ years. Tomorrow, Friday 05/02/2010 it is go-live time and hopefully thereafter I would be able to normalise my life again. I am excited with the anticipation of seeing all the hard work coming into fruition, but I am also very eager to get it over and done with.

Isn't it just amazing how one can be aware of something for years without ever really taking proper notice of it? I am sure, like me, many of you have heard (or known) that Water Hyacinths are invasive plants and seen as a pest, but have you ever stopped and take notice of its fabulous flower. When I saw these pink beauties on the shore of the Redding Dam my senses kicked into over-drive. My eyes told me it surely must be Water Hyacinth, but my brain just couldn't explain why I've never before taken any closer notice of these lovely flowers. Is it because of the "Common" connotation to its name? Is it because one always sees the dense green foliage strangling some waterway and straight away thinks "invader" or "pest" or "destroyer"? Whatever the reason was I cannot put my finger on, but I am sure glad that the beauty of this plant finally got through to me and although there are many negatives attached to this invader it just once again proved that there is a beautiful side in anything in nature. My research also indicated that this plant is not necessarily all "bad news", because it actually do have certain positive attributes like cleaning waste water from heavy metals. After all, it is not the plants fault that man has introduced it to most regions throughout the world where its natural enemies (or consumers) are not present to control the growth or the spread of the plant.

Taxonomic Classification

Plantae (trees, herbs, bushes, grasses, vines, ferns, mosses, & green algae)
PHYLUM: Tracheophyta (green plants with a vascular system)
SUBPHYLUM: Euphyllophytina (seed plants)
CLASS: Liliopsida (flowering seed plants that produce an embryo with a single cotyledon and parallel-veined leaves: includes grasses, lilies, palms, & orchids)
ORDER: Liliales (mostly perennial plants, with food storage organs such as corms or rhizomes)
FAMILY: Pontederiaceae (herbs annual or perennial, aquatic, floating or rooting in substrate)

Water hyacinth is a free-floating perennial aquatic plant. It has broad, thick, glossy, ovate leaves. The leaves are 10–20cm 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.

It is a vigorous grower and one of the fastest growing plants known. It can double its population in two weeks. It reproduces primarily by way of runners or stolons, which eventually form daughter plants. It also produces large quantities of seeds, and these are viable for up to thirty years.

Native to tropical South America and the Caribbean Territories. Introduced throughout the rest of the world.

Its habitat ranges from tropical desert to subtropical or warm temperate desert to rainforest zones. It tolerates high annual precipitations, annual temperatures from 21.1°C-27.2°C, and its pH tolerance is estimated at 5.0-7.5. It does not tolerate water temperatures >34°C. Leaves are killed by frost and salt water, the latter trait being used to kill some of it by floating rafts of the cut weed to the sea. Water hyacinths do not grow when the average salinity is greater than 15% that of sea water. In brackish water, its leaves show epinasty and chlorosis, and eventually die.

Invasiveness as an exotic plant
Water hyacinth has been widely introduced throughout North America, Asia, Australia and Africa. It can be found in large water areas such as Louisiana, or in the Kerala Backwaters in India. In many areas it is an important and pernicious (destructive) invasive species. First introduced to North America in 1884, an estimated 50kg per square meter 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 mosquitoes, 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.

In some areas, uses 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.

Industrial utilisation
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 towards, and of high capacity of uptaking heavy metals, such as Cd, Cr, Co, Ni, Pb and Hg etc, which could be utilised for the biocleaning of industrial wastewater. Not only the heavy metals, but it can also remove toxins, such as cyanide, a process which is environmentally beneficial in areas that have endured gold mining operations. 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. Source

Post Processing was done with Adobe Photoshop CS2.

Heaven, eng55, Miss_Piggy, hansh, livius, jaycee, sandpiper2, Luis52, boreocypriensis, manyee, Hormon_Manyer, Silvio2006, Argus, uleko, nglen, roges, CeltickRanger, anel, chrisruth, MMM, Alex99, Pitoncle, tuslaw, xTauruSx, rousettus, Mamagolo2 has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Loot

Not often that I have browsed the gallery and seen your photo as the most recent updated.
This is a lovely capture of the Water hyacinth shown with good detail even down to the last drop of water.
The colors are beautiful and even though I'm not one of the ladies I really enjoyed this composition.

Great work as always
Kind regards MF

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  • Heaven Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 996 W: 123 N: 2341] (7912)
  • [2010-02-04 20:15]

Dear Loot

I'm not a lady, but nevertheless like your picture very much!


I'm delighted by the magnificent view of this flower. The colour management is superb and highlights the flower's beauty as well as the impact of the picture at best. The little waterdrops add to the value of the picture as well as the indirect and delicate light that, moreover, creates natural colours and avoids harsh contrasts. This picture is what I like to call an eye-candy.

Many thanks also for the well elaborated notes that are a subtle mix of narration and information.

Kind regards


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  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2010-02-04 22:37]

Hi Loot,
Very nice flowers.Well caught,framed and composed.Exposure is spot on,details are crisp clear.I'm sure all ladies will like it.(I liked also very much:))Have nice day!
Thanks for posting..

Hello Loot
I've heard that is one of the most beautiful flowers from the tropical/non tropical wet lands. I imagine that is a real pleasure to see a field full with this beautiful , and strong color!
The image is perfect, so cristal clear and fresh!
My kind regards,

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  • jhm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 893 W: 0 N: 507] (1853)
  • [2010-02-04 23:50]

Hello Loot,

Flowers, a very lovely subject for take, but very difficult.
You did very lovely the different color and details in the flowers, very well done, TFS.

Have a nice day,

Hi dear Loot ,

Really so nice flower shot.
It has lovely shot with excellent details.
Fresh work

Kind regards

Dear Loot
Everything in this image is just so gorgeous, and if I started to point out things that I particularly fancy, I would point out from corner A to corner D, as the image as a whole is just perfect. One cannot help to fall in love with this lovely flower.

It is an amazing tender shot of a charming plant and its flowers. I am stunned with the delicateness of the colours, great details of the flower and the pleasant blurriness of the background. A most appropriate image to dedicate to the "wonderful ladies of the site", as it is has a definite feminine touch to it, is soft on the eye, and it speaks of love and compassion and therefore directly speak to the heart as well. I like the overall gentle softness in this image. The water drops are a big bonus and gives it a clean and pure look.

Thank you for sharing this beautiful "pest" as part of a dedication to all the ladies of the site and therefore include myself. Once again your excellent camera work is clearly visible in this outstanding image. Indeed a PPP- Pretty perfect picture, and like always your note is of high standard and contains important educational value. I trust everything went well with the start up for the project that kept you busy for far too long and that your life will turn back to normal soon.

Love you lots.

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  • hansh Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 277 W: 1 N: 741] (2762)
  • [2010-02-05 4:49]

Hello Loot.

This is a nice one. Great colors, perfect sharp and a nice POV.
An attractive dedication to all the ladys here, the beauty of the flower, which you show us in a perfect way here, is a great symbol for them.
Thank you for sharing it.

Gr. Hans

Hello Loot
elegant composition with beautiful "giacinto" (in italian), fine details and very vivid colors, great sharpness. Particular water drops giving good contrast. Very interesting notes.

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  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2010-02-05 10:19]

Hello Loot,
Although I'm not a lady, I feel it like a dedication when I see such a splendid flower. Everything in this flower is just perfect. Noting to criticize. A small masterpiece!

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  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2010-02-05 15:35]

Hi Loot,

You should have saved this for Valentine's Day! These Water Hyacinths are most beautiful with fabulous colors. I have long said that the word "common" should be removed from Nature. What's common to one is very rare for another. The shapes and details are gorgeous and the water droplets are a real bonus. This TN lady thanks you.


Hello Loot
this Common Water Hyacinth is as beautiful as a bunch of red roses or a bouquet of exotic orchids, thanks her superb shapes and the lovely pink color
the composition is wonderful and very attractive to look at
thanks for the dedication and good luck for your new project
Have a great WE

Hi Loot

Indeed it is a fabulous shot of horrible weed. In Australia it causes massive problems when it escapes from ornimental ponds into rivers. But it does have a beautiful flower and you've captured it magnificently.


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  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2010-02-05 19:09]

Hola Sr. Loot.
Aun cuando no soy una Dama, y por lo general siempre trabajo con animales, tambien soy admirador de las flores y todo tipo de plantas que habitan nuestro planeta.
La calidad en esta foto es de alto nivel, finos y elegentes detalles en los petalos de la flor. La combinacion de colores en sus partes lucen de maravilla y las pequeñas gotas de rocio le dan mas valor a la foto.
Saludos Sr. Loot.

Hi Loot,

Incredible work. Hyacinths have always been a great flower to photograph, but you've truly made this unique. The lighting looks wonderfully managed. The water droplets are such a bonus. The blurred background works extremely well, as does the vertical crop. Great job with the composition too and pleasant dedication to our lady friends on TN! Realy a shot to be proud of – Well done MF!
TFS and have a nice WE!


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  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2010-02-05 21:26]

Wow, thank you for the dedication, Loot. : )
I am sure all the ladies on TN are tickled pink. : ) (No pun intended, hehe...)
It is indeed a beautiful flower, presented in an outstanding manner by your judicious POV that exposes the exquisite colors and bold markings. It is interesting to me that the purple and yellow marking on one of the petals is not repeated on the other petals, and as such does not reflect any symmetry in the whole flower... an unusual phenomenon in nature.
Your sharp focus brings out the delicate veins in the petals, and the daintiness of the water drops. A lovely composition! Thank you again for thinking of us.

Hi Loot,

Maybe this plant's invasive as pest, but as a flower, a wonderful one, a perfect to dedicate to the Ladies of TN. Gorgeous colors, fantastic sharpness and background blur isolating the main subject quite well. Masterful job MF. Bravo.

I hope the project You talk about will be fruiting for You, but at the same time You'll be able to spend more time here on TN and teaching the beautiful South African flora / fauna to us.

Best regards, László

Ciao Loot, lovely dedication, beautiful flower with wonderful colors and splendid sharpness, very well done, have a good week end, ciao Silvio

Hello Loot,
a great dedication "to all the wonderful ladies on this site"; fantastic macro shot of a marvellous flower, superb sharpness and very beautiful delicate colours, a very nice close composition.
Best regards

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  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2010-02-06 6:44]

Hello Loot,
A nice tribute to our ladies!
This common Water Hyacinth is uncommonly beautiful when in flower and the way you captured this one seems to show it in its full splendour with fine colours and sharpness.
I am sure this one is appreciated by the fairer sex, not to mention us blokes.
Interesting note too.
Thanks and have a good weekend,

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  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2010-02-06 7:41]

Hello Loot,
Thank you for this beautiful and kind dedication! Often the most common and insignificant flowers are the most beautiful and this Water Hyacinth is truly wonderful! You've captured the details so well and the pink/purple/orange colours are fantastic. The dew drops add to its beauty and your framing is very nice too!
With kind regards, Ulla

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  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2010-02-06 12:10]

Hi Loot. You have chossen a beautiful flower for this dedication to the ladies on TN i am sure they will all love it. This is a fine clsoe up of the pink coloured Hyacinth . Taken with sharp focusing and fine detail. I like the water droplets. Well taken TFs.

hello Loot

very beautiful photo of this lovely flower, with fine POV and appropriate framing,
fine focus sharpness and details, beautifully blurred background,
i love that kind of backgrounds that it is all beautifully blurred
but in the same time (in the blur) we can see details, TFS


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  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2010-02-07 1:50]

Bonjour Loot,
I missed this gift to the ladies of the site, I hope it's not too late to thank you for this kind gesture. With your shot you rendered so well the fine colors of this aquatic flower enhanced by the shining waterdrops. Interesting note too as we are used from you. Thanks also for your kind visit to my last picture.
I wish you and Anna a nice Sunday
Kind regards

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  • roges Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 957 W: 0 N: 1329] (6264)
  • [2010-02-07 2:57]

Hello Loot,
This magnificent flower macro with this special.
Nice POV with some details and beautiful colors.
Have a nice day,

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  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2010-02-07 4:40]

Hi Loot,
this is one of my favourite flowers. It thrives well here and they look very outstanding in its wonderful purplish colour. The stamens too is very pretty.
The peacock like petal is the treasure of all that deliver the wonder of this flower.
Very nice and pleasant view captured in a soft and neat capture.
The bonus is the water droplets that give a very powerful enhancement to the existing beauty.
Congratulations for such an excellentt image, and i must tell you how i like to read and appreciate your comment on me and on others too.
I just read the one one in-flight bird for Asbed about the Dof and subject which is truly helpful, insightful from a person who knows a lot of technical aspects. Im looking forward for your work, especially talking about PP.
nice to know you.


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  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1114 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2010-02-08 6:20]

Hi Loot
What a beautiful presentation.Excellent POV and razor sharp image with great detail.The colors are so vivid .I love the water drop on the leaf.
TFS Michel

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  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2010-02-09 9:41]

Hi Loot.
I have a bit time for TN and glad to visit you page here. These flowers are amazing and you managed to reflect all their beauties. Superb DOF, sharpness of the petals. Delicate lights and colours and fine smooth natural BG. My kind regards and FS.

Bonjour Loot
Excellente prise en macro de ce beau plant de fleurs sauvages .
Les couleurs sont éclatantes et la netteté est parfaite. Félicitations pour la qualité et le merveilleux bg
Merci et au revoir...JP

Bonjour Loot,
Splendide publication superbement éclairée ; la finesse des détails et la délicatesse des couleurs sont remarquables.
A bientôt sur TN pour de nouvelles aventures.

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  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2010-02-13 18:22]

Hello Loot,
What a gorgeous flowering plant you have posted for us. I have never seen one here in Ohio, but I'm sure from your notes that they have probably invaded some of our water ways as well.
Love the fine detail and beautiful colors of the petals. Great DOF and perfect exposure. Very striking pattern on the top petals with the contrasting pink, purple and gold design.
I always have Rosie take a look whenever I spot an exceptional flower photo here on TN. She works part time for a local green house, so she is always interested in new plants. Rosie said that they sell a lot of Water Hyacinths to customers who have ponds. She has never seen one blooming, because they sell as soon as they get new sprouts in.

Hello again Loot,
Splendid macro shot with nice composition and details. Great dedication too.
TFS and regards,

hello Loot
fantastic capture of very beautiful Water Hyacinth, with wonderful sharpness of focus, POV/DOF and composition with dews exposure-white balance and coloration splendid. outstanding work indeed, in your usual quality. Your notes also very good and informative as always. It is a great dedication to ladies.
sorry for my delay, I was in trip when you posted it. So, I have seen it newly. thanks a lot for sharing this beauty.
best regards and have a good night

Hi Loot,
Stunning image. I love flowers and this one is stunning. Beautiful colors an good detail. Very well done and TFS.

Well, I am a male, so I hope you dont mind me watching :-). The photo is so sharp and the colours so natural I feel like reaching out and touching it. Well done, a great photo!

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