Aquatic plants can be used for treating eutrophicated water in a simple and cost-effective manner, but many such plant systems remain to be characterized. The effects of growing Eichhornia crassipes on removal of nitrogen (N) from the eutrophicated water were investigated in a large-scale enclosure system installed in hyper-eutrophicated water in Hua-jia-chi pond, Hangzhou city, China. Total N concentration in the enclosures decreased from 2.1 to 0.50 mg L-1 after growing Eichhornia crassipes for 44 d. Ammonium concentration decreased at least 2-fold after plant growth. Nitrite concentration decreased to below detection limit after growing Eichhornia crassipes for only 14 d and was maintained at that level afterwards. Chlorophyll a concentration (an indicator of water eutrophication) decreased to 10 mu g L-1 after 44 d. The water transparency increased significantly, reaching the depth of 1.8 m (i.e., to the bottom of the pond) after 44 d. Eichhornia crassipes removed 21.7 kg nitrogen from 6,000 t of hyper-eutrophicated water in the enclosures, thus quickly and effectively improving the water quality. Growing Eichhornia crassipes is the first step toward re-establishing natural ecosystem functions in eutrophicated water bodies.