Water Hyacinth is a fast-growing aquatic plant native to South America. It's highly invasive when transplanted from its natural environment, and it's caused environmental damage in North America and Australia. There are benefits to the plant as well. In some countries with large water hyacinth populations, the leaves are being harvested, dried, and woven into furniture. Click below for more...
The plant is easily renewable, flexible but strong, and often needs to be harvested to prevent it from overtaking waterways...all good reasons to use it for furniture-making. Countries that export a lot of water hyacinth furniture include Thailand, Vietnam, and Bali. A few examples of how this material is used in contemporary furniture:
• Water Hyacinth Floor Cushions and Pillows, $24-$79 at West Elm
• Basket Top Coffee Table, $469 at Viva Terra
Note: Water Hyacinth is listed on the USDA's Invasive Species roster. In the US, it quickly forms floating, interlocking colonies that can obstruct water flows, kill fish, and overtake native species, so avoid growing it here. (If you have an indoor water hyacinth, compost the excess clippings and don't introduce them into natural bodies of water.)