Mrs. W.F. Fuller obtained samples of the South American plant, the water hyacinth, at the World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition in New Orleans and planted them along the shore of her home on the St. Johns River. Within a decade, the water hyacinths covered an estimated 50 million acres of the river and its tributaries. Left uncontrolled in North American waters, water hyacinths can cover lakes and ponds, starving them of oxygen and thus killing fish and other organisms.