Eriocaulon is a genus of over 400 species in the family Eriocaulaceae
that can be found in Asia, Europe, Australia, and North America.
Commonly called pipewort, these unique-looking plants are highly
sought after by serious plant collectors. Many of the rare species
come from shallow Asian and Australian acid peat bogs, which must
be recreated in the aquarium.
Eriocaulon sp. “Australia” (type 2)—shown at right—is a collector
species that grows to a maximum height of about 5 inches. Soft,
acidic water, elevated CO , and moderate light and peat in the
substrate should be provided for this plant to thrive. Eriocaulon sp.
“Thailand” comes from blackwater pools in Thai jungles, and this
unassuming little plant brings a delicate touch to the aquascape.
Eriocaulon species resemble miniature pin cushions and are comparable to plants in the related families Cyperaceae (sedges) and
Juncaceae (rushes). They are very exclusive imports from Japan and Singapore, with the latter being the primary source of these plants for
the United States, though their import here is rare.
Cryptocoryne wendtii “Florida Sunset”
Cryptocoryne wendtii “Florida sunset” is an exciting new
plant from Florida Aquatic Nurseries. It is a variant of
the import favorite Cryptocoryne wendtii “Mi Oya,” which is
a red-colored regional variant that comes from the Gal Oya
River in eastern Sri Lanka. The “Florida sunset” is named for
its variegated leaves, which exhibit a rainbow of colors ranging
from different shades of green, pink, red, yellow, orange, and
white—all in one plant.
Each leaf of each plant looks unique and features diverse
coloration and markings. Even the white areas have a hint of color
underneath, with red veins showing through. Like its parent C.
wendtii “Mi Oya,” “Florida sunset” can grow under most light
conditions (low to high) and most water conditions (soft to hard),
making it an ideal choice for the hobbyist. The mother plant “Mi
Oya” is imported from Asian growers, and “Florida sunset” is a
cultivar from Florida.
photographs by the author
Robert Paul Hudson has been an
avid hobbyist since childhood and
became interested in aquatic plants
in the early 1990s. Inspired by a
love of gardening passed on by his
father and the writings of Takashi
Amano and Karen Randall, one
planted aquarium grew into
dozens. In 1999, he started the
website www.aquabotanic.com, first
as an educational tool, and then
as a business. He enjoys keeping
dwarf cichlids and North American
native fish. Robert now writes for
numerous aquarium magazines and
club newsletters, striving to share his
enthusiasm and love of the hobby.
This variety of Bacopa is new to the
American hobby, but it is well known
in Europe. It has a thinner, softer stem, and
a smaller, lighter-green leaf when compared
to the more common species in America. As
long as you have ample light and CO , the
plant is unproblematic and highly decorative.
Bacopa australis was discovered in Brazil (the
species name “australis” means “southern”
and does not refer to Australia as some might
believe). The stems branch easily to create a
bushy group, and the color is a nice contrast to
darker plants. Although it does not have huge
light demands, care should be taken to prevent
it from being overshadowed by larger plants.
These plants were originally imported from
Asian and European growers, but they are now
grown commercially in Florida.