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Water Spinach

November 5, 2009
An infestation of water spinah on a lake.

An infestation of water spinach on a lake.

Water spinach is not as healthy as it sounds. In fact, its quite the contrary. Before it was even identified it was found afloat in the Herod River in the Jezreel Valley. After it was spotted and tested by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority’s science department, results showed that the mysterious plant had never been seen before in Israel.

Along with the water cabbage and the water hyacinth, the water spinach brings about massive ecological damage to rivers and lakes alike. The water spinach can influence or change entire habitats and it is highly dangerous and invasive. Ecologist Yiftah Sinai says the water spinach can quickly and densely cover wide territories and prevent other plants from growing. It grows fast enough to block waterways, which can lead to floods or stagnant water, and can potentially become mosquito breeding grounds.

Since water spinach is quite the popular dish in Thailand, it was thought that the plant was imported by the Thai workers who live on the banks of the Naaman stream.

Although the plant was removed from the river, it is likely to return there again. Who would have thought invasive water plants could be as harmful to our environment as man-made pollution?

For more information on water spinach, check out this article from Haaretz or if you would like to contribute in any way to our campaigns for water in Israel, check out Zalul’s website.

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