In the late 1880s or early 1890s (sources are vague as to the exact time), people living along the St. Johns River were enthralled by the addition of a beautiful floating water plant to the river’s scenery. Above a luxuriant green base towered a spike of purple flowers. Steamboat operators were pleased when the tourists admired the drifting bouquets gliding by their vessels. Cattlemen along the river were enthused at the prospect of a new cheap fodder for their stock. They gathered bundles of the floating greenery to carry upriver for propagation in their ponds and streams. Mr. Fuller, owner of the Edgewater Grove, seven miles above Palatka, claimed to have brought this beauty to the St. Johns River, and he believed that “the people of Florida ought to thank me for putting these plants here.“
Buker, George E.
"Engineers vs Florida's Green Menace,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 60:
4, Article 3.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol60/iss4/3