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Purple Pontederia azurea flower with a dark throat in sunlight
Pontederia azurea
Pontederia azurea (Anchored Water Hyacinth)

A free-floating aquatic perennial originating from Central and South America. The plant's thick, waxy green leaves support a structure that allows it to grow both under and above water, with stems that can produce up to five flowers each. These large blossoms are lavender blue with a distinct yellow blotch at the center, and the flowers are about 2 inches wide composed of six petals. The plant is invasive, forming dense mats that reduce light penetration and dissolved oxygen levels in water bodies. Photographed in the department of Magdalena, Colombia.

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