Limnophila aromatica var. “Hippuroides”
Limnophila aromatica has been known as an herb from China to
Vietnam for hundreds of years. It has a very distinctive smell.
It also has at least two different growth variations. Outside the
aquarium world, numerous documentations show L. aromatica
as having short, opposite ovoid-lanceolate leaves that differ little
whether growing under or above water. This variety does not
fare well in the aquarium, but it is occasionally imported for that
purpose. The other form has much longer, narrow lanceolate leaves
that grow in whorls, which are red to purple on the underside and
green on top with serrate margins. It looks very close to Pogostemon
stellatus (also known as Eusteralis stellata). This growth form thrives
in the aquarium and is much more attractive looking.
The problem is the confusion over the two variations. The
Internet hobby-elite community only recognizes the long-leaf form
as aromatica, whereas plant farms all over Asia that grow both forms
call the small leaf variety aromatica and the long-leaf variety either
aromatica var. “hippuroides” or aromatica var. “aromaticoides.” If
a hobbyist sees that a local store can get L. aromatica from a trans-shipper or sees L. aromatica listed on a website dealer’s list, the
hobbyist is expecting the long-leaf form but will most likely get the
short-leaf form if not otherwise specified. Florida Aquatic Nurseries
has recently added both growth forms to their production line,
calling the short-leaf form Limnophila aromatica and the long-leaf
form Limnophila aromatica var. “hippuroides.”
Mosaic Plant Ludwigia sedioides
This decorative Ludwigia species is a true
floating plant. The leaves grow from a thick
floating stem and curl to create the mosaic-like
leaf pattern with various shades of red and green.
A bright yellow flower blooms atop a 2-inch stem
protruding from the center of the mosaic. Its
native range is Central and South America, where
it grows in ditches and ponds with stagnant water
or river banks with little current.
Ludwigia sedioides is usually imported for pond
use, but some hobbyists have kept it in the
aquarium. It will not survive a cold winter
outside. If you desire something different for a
barrel/container pond or a slow-moving pond, the
mosaic plant is an attractive choice. Give it full to
partial sun in a warm location.
Fairy Weed Proserpinaca pectinata
Fairy weed is also known as the combleaf mermaid
weed. Proserpinaca has two species native to the
United States, the more common palustris mermaid
weed and the lesser-known pectinata fairy weed.
These bog plants adapt slowly to growing underwater
and require high light levels, but the reward is a very
colorful and distinctive look.
Mermaid weed, pectinata, has the most color and
features pectinate (comb-like) leaves. In Asia and
Europe, the plant is considered rare and highly
collectible; here it is more readily available but not
often cultivated for sale. This year, Florida Aquatic
Nurseries added the plant to their production line.
It may be found growing wild in the Gulf Coast
region, and all the way up the eastern coast to
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