Pistia stratiotes is an aquatic plant that floats on water surfaces of ponds, lakes and waterways. In closed ponds the plant often grows rapidly and covers the whole pond surface. The dissolved oxygen content can be quickly depleted and the light penetration into the inner part of the water can be hindered. If no control measure is taken, the pond (plus the fishes) can be dead.
Pistia is a monocot, with its fibrous roots hanging down the water from the base of the plant. The leaves are arranged in a whorl like cabbage leaves, and hence commonly known as water cabbage.
Pistia stratiotes has been used in the effort to reduce water polution because it has the ability to take up heavy metals and excess phosphate from water bodies.
Pistia is a small genus, with only one species, which is Pistia stratiotes