1. Family: Alismataceae Vent.
    1. Genus: Alisma L.
      1. Alisma plantago-aquatica L.

        Common water-plantain is a semi-aquatic or aquatic plant that is unrelated to true plantains, which are members of the genus Plantago.

    [KSP]

    Kew Species Profiles

    General Description
    .

    Common water-plantain is a semi-aquatic or aquatic plant that is unrelated to true plantains, which are members of the genus Plantago.

    Alisma is the ancient Greek physician Dioscorides' name for a plantain-leaved plant. The specific epithet, plantago is from the Latin for the sole of a foot, referring to the flat leaves, and aquatica is from the Latin for 'living in water', referring to the plant's habitat.

    There are two subspecies of common water-plantain: Alisma plantago-aquatica subspecies plantago-aquatica, which is the most common and widespread of the two, and A. plantago-aquatica subsp. orientale, which occurs only in Asia.

    Species Profile
    Geography and distribution

    Common water-plantain is a widespread temperate species occurring across Eurasia and from North Africa to Tanzania. It is also considered to be native in parts of Australia.

    It is widely cultivated and has been introduced and become naturalised in parts of North and South America, Australia and New Zealand.

    Alisma plantago-aquatica subspecies orientale is native to eastern and central Asia.

    Description

    Overview: An aquatic or semi-aquatic perennial with a clumped habit, up to 1 m tall.

    Leaves: Rosettes of grey-green, elliptic, ribbed leaves, rounded at the base, up to 30 cm long on long fleshy stems.

    Flowers: Tall open panicles of white flowers, sometimes with a pink or pale lilac tinge, up to 15 mm in diameter. Petals and sepals are in threes; there are six stamens (male parts) and numerous (variable) stigmas/carpels (female parts).

    Fruits: Made up of a cluster of numerous achenes (dry fruits containing one seed) up to 7 mm in diameter. The fruits are buoyant, allowing water-borne dispersal.

    Seeds: Deep reddish-brown to light pink or yellow. Remaining viable in water for many years.

    Flowering stems emerge from the centre of the leaf bases, and delicate white, pink or lilac flowers unfurl in the afternoon for only a few hours, before closing again at dusk. During this time, the flowers are pollinated by flies, which are attracted by small drops of nectar.

    Uses

    The rhizome (underground horizontal stem) is used as a diuretic, but prolonged use may cause gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines).

    According to the Flora of Pakistan , the powdered root has been used as a cure for hydrophobia, and fresh leaves are used in homeopathy. The starch-rich rootstock is also eaten in some countries.

    John Ruskin, the well-known Victorian art critic, believed that the curve of this plant's leaves was representative of 'divine proportion', and advocated the emulation of nature and natural forms such as this in architecture, as in the Gothic style.

    Millennium Seed Bank: Seed storage

    The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership aims to save plant life worldwide, focusing on plants under threat and those of most use in the future. Seeds are dried, packaged and stored at a sub-zero temperature in our seed bank vault.

    12 collections of Alisma plantago-aquatica seeds are held in Kew's Millennium Seed Bank based at Wakehurst in West Sussex.

    Cultivation

    Common water-plantain makes a good marginal or emergent plant for a wildlife garden or around lakes or garden ponds. It performs best in full sun and can grow in any aspect, in an exposed or sheltered site. It can be planted in up to 30 cm of water.

    It can be propagated from ripe seed, freshly sown, or by dividing the rhizomes in spring. It will reach full height within 2-5 years.

    This species at Kew

    Alisma plantago-aquatica was first recorded in cultivation at Kew in 1768. It was first recorded growing wild in its natural habitat in the Gardens in 1873.

    In recent years, it has been found growing wild in the ditch alongside the towpath, in one spot beside the Lake, and in the Larch Pond in the Conservation Area. It has been planted near the Sir Joseph Banks Building and can also be seen in cultivation in the Aquatic Garden, next to the Grass Garden. It can also be found growing at Wakehurst, Kew's sister garden.

    Dried specimens of Alisma plantago-aquatica are held in Kew's Herbarium, where they are available to researchers by appointment.

    Specimens of root and tubers of common water-plantain, used in medicine, are held in Kew's Economic Botany Collection, where they are available to researchers by appointment.

    Distribution
    Australia, Tanzania
    Ecology
    Pond margins, ditches, canals, slow-flowing rivers, streams and marshes; in shallow water or fertile mud.
    Conservation
    Least Concern according to IUCN Red List criteria.
    Hazards

    Poisonous if ingested in large quantities.

    [FTEA]

    Alismataceae, Susan Carter. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1960

    Habit
    Aquatic herb.
    Leaves
    Petiole (10–)15–30(–40) cm. long; leaf-blade ovate, (5–)10–15(–25) × (2.5-)5–7(–12) cm.; base rounded to subcordate; nerves 5–9, not all radiating from the apex of the petiole.
    Peduncles
    Peduncle (2–)6–10 dm. high.
    Inflorescences
    Inflorescence of about 6 whorls of branches and flowers; bracts membranous, lanceolate, those of the lowest whorl 1–2 × 0.5 cm., with several smaller bracteoles.
    Pedicel
    Pedicels up to 2 cm. long.
    Calyx
    Sepals ovate, 2 mm. long.
    Corolla
    Petals 4 mm. long, white, delicate.
    Stamens
    Stamens 2 mm. long; anthers 0.75 mm. long, narrow; filaments attached above the base.
    Carpels
    Carpels ovate, compressed, less than 1 mm. long; style about 1 mm. long, erect or slightly curved.
    Fruits
    Achenes broadly ovate, with 2 or 3 ridges on the dorsal surface, pale brown to yellowish.
    Figures
    Fig. 3, p. 6.
    Habitat
    Marshes and river margins, usually growing in shallow water; 900–2280 m.
    Distribution
    K3 K4 T2 U2 temperate regions of Europe, Asia, Australia and Africaaccording to Samuelsson (Arkiv Bot. 24A, No. 7 (1932)) distribution in the North American continent is limited to subsp. brevipes (Greene) Sam., while subsp. orientale Sam. is found in eastern and central Asia
    [KSP]
    Use
    Ornamental, medicine.

    Images

    Distribution

    Native to:

    Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Altay, Amur, Assam, Austria, Baleares, Baltic States, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Burundi, Buryatiya, Central European Rus, China North-Central, China South-Central, China Southeast, Chita, Corse, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, East Aegean Is., East European Russia, East Himalaya, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Inner Mongolia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Irkutsk, Italy, Japan, Kamchatka, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Khabarovsk, Kirgizstan, Korea, Krasnoyarsk, Kriti, Krym, Manchuria, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, North Caucasus, North European Russi, Northwest European R, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Primorye, Qinghai, Romania, Rwanda, Sakhalin, Sardegna, Sicilia, South European Russi, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Tadzhikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Transcaucasus, Turkey, Turkey-in-Europe, Tuva, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, West Himalaya, West Siberia, Xinjiang, Yakutskiya, Yugoslavia, Zaïre

    Introduced into:

    Alaska, Angola, Argentina South, Cape Provinces, Chile Central, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, New South Wales, New Zealand North, New Zealand South, Northern Provinces, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Zimbabwe

    Common Names

    English
    Common water-plantain

    Alisma plantago-aquatica L. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Wallich, N. [Cat. no. 4998], India K001104452
    Day, C.D. [746], Turkey K000341682

    First published in Sp. Pl.: 342 (1753)

    Accepted by

    • Darbyshire, I., Kordofani, M., Farag, I., Candiga, R. & Pickering, H. (eds.) (2015). The Plants of Sudan and South Sudan: 1-400. Kew publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Mostaph, M.K. & Uddin, S.B. (2013). Dictionary of plant names of Bangladesh, Vasc. Pl.: 1-434. Janokalyan Prokashani, Chittagong, Bangladesh.
    • Wu, Z. & Raven, P.H. (eds.) (2010). Flora of China 23: 1-515. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis.
    • Dobignard, D. & Chatelain, C. (2010). Index synonymique de la flore d'Afrique du nord 1: 1-455. Éditions des conservatoire et jardin botaniques, Genève.
    • Castroviejo, S. & al. (eds.) (2010). Flora Iberica 17: 1-298. Real Jardín Botánico, CSIC, Madrid.
    • Timberlake, J.R. & Martins, E.S. (eds.) (2009). Flora Zambesiaca 12(2): 1-208. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Takhtajan, A.L. (ed.) (2006). Conspectus Florae Caucasi 2: 1-466. Editio Universitatis Petropolitanae.
    • Boulos, L. (2005). Flora of Egypt 4: 1-617. Al Hadara Publishing, Cairo.
    • Germishuizen, G. & Meyer, N.L. (eds.) (2003). Plants of Southern Africa: an annotated checklist. Strelitzia 14.: i-vi, 1-1231. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
    • Grubov, V.I. (2001). Key to the Vascular Plants of Mongolia 1: 1-411. Science Publishers, Inc. Enfield, USA. Plymouth, U.K.
    • Flora of North America Editorial Committee (2000). Flora of North America North of Mexico 22: 1-352. Oxford University Press, New York, Oxford.
    • Edwards, S., Demissew, S. & Hedberg, I. (eds.) (1997). Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea 6: 1-586. The National Herbarium, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia & The Department of Systematic Botany, Upps.
    • Zuloaga, F.O. & Morrone, O. (eds.) (1996). Pteridophyta, Gymnospermae y Angiospermae (Monocotyledoneae) Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares de la República Argentina 1: 1-323. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis.
    • Boulos, L. (1995). Flora of Egypt Checklist: i-xii, 1-287. Al Hadara Publishing, Cairo.
    • Govaerts, R. (1995). World Checklist of Seed Plants 1(1, 2): 1-483, 1-529. MIM, Deurne.
    • Townsend, C.C. & Guest, E. (eds.) (1985). Flora of Iraq 8: 1-440. Ministry of Agriculture & Agrarian Reform, Baghdad.
    • Davis, P.H. (ed.) (1984). Flora of Turkey and the East Aegean Islands 8: 1-632. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh.
    • Healey, A.J. & Edgar, E. (1980). Flora of New Zealand 3: 1-220. R.E.Owen, Government Printer, Wellington.
    • Tutin, T.G. & al. (eds.) (1980). Flora Europaea 5: 1-452. Cambridge University Press.
    • Ghafoor, A. (1974). Flora of Pakistan 68: 1-12. Department of Botany, University of Karachi, Karachi.
    • Navas Bustamante, L.E. (1973). Flora de la Cuenca de Santiago de Chile 1: 1-301. Comisión Central de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Chile.
    • Carter, S. (1960). Alismataceae Flora of Tropical East Africa: 1-16.
    • Ovczinnikov, P.N. (ed.) (1957). Flora Tadzhikskoi SSR 1: 1-547. Izd-vo Akademii nauk SSSR, Moskva.
    • Andrews, F.W. (1956). The Flowering Plants of the Sudan 3: 1-579. T.Buncle & co., LTD., Arbroath, Scotland.
    • Nikitina, E.V. & Protopopov, G.F. (eds.) (1952). Flora Kirgizskoi SSR 1: 1-103. Frunze : Izd-vo KirgizFAN SSSR.
    • Merkodovich, N.A. (ed.) (1941). Flora Uzbekistana 1: 1-566. Izd-va Akademii nauk Uzbekskoi SSR, Tashkent.

    Literature

    Kew Species Profiles
    • Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (2012).
    • Biological Records Centre (BRC) (2012). Online Atlas of the British and Irish Flora: Alisma plantago-aquatica. Available from: http://www.brc.ac.uk/plantatlas/index.php?q=plant/alisma-plantago-aquatica (accessed 29 April 2012).
    • Conran, J. G. (2012). The genus Alisma L. (Alismataceae) in South Australia. Journal of Adelaide Botanic Garden 25: 11–15.
    • Global Invasive Species Database (2012).
    • IUCN (2012). IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, Version 2012.2. (Accessed 14 November 2012).
    • JNCC (Joint Nature Conservation Committee) (2012). The Vascular Plant Red Data List for Great Britain: Conservation Designations for UK Taxa.
    • WCSP (2012). World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • eFloras.org (2012). Flora of Pakistan: Alisma plantago-aquatica.
    • Stace, C. (2010). New Flora of the British Isles, 3rd Edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
    • The Plant List (2010). Alisma plantago-aquatica.
    • Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2009). An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG III. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 161: 105–121.
    • Chase, M. W. & Reveal, J. L. (2009). A phylogenetic classification of the land plants to accompany APG III. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 161: 122–127.
    • Cope, T. (2009). The Wild Flora of Kew Gardens: A Cumulative Checklist from 1759. Kew Publishing, Surrey.
    • Gledhill, D. (2008). The Names of Plants, 4th Edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
    • Mabberley, D. J. (2008). Mabberley’s Plant-book: a Portable Dictionary of Plants, their Classification and Uses, 3rd Edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
    • Spencer-Jones, R. & Cuttle, S. (2005). Wild Flowers of Britain and Ireland. Kyle Cathie, London.
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    • Mabey, R. (1996). Flora Britannica. Sinclair-Stevenson, London.
    • Tutin, T. G., Heywood, V. H., Burges, N. A., Moore, D. M., Valentine, D. H., Walters, S. M & Webb, P. A. (1980). Flora Europaea. Volume 5: Alismataceae to Orchidaceae (Monocotyledons). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
    • Crocker, W. & Davis, W. E. (1914). Delayed germination in seed of Alisma plantago. Botanical Gazette 58: 285–321.
    • Samuelsson, G. (1912). Alisma plantago-aquatica subsp. orientale. Arkiv för Botanik 24A(7): 16.
    • Botanical Society of the British Isles (BSBI). Maps Scheme.
    Kew Backbone Distributions
    • Mostaph, M.K. & Uddin, S.B. (2013). Dictionary of plant names of Bangladesh, Vasc. Pl.: 1-434. Janokalyan Prokashani, Chittagong, Bangladesh.
    • Wu, Z. & Raven, P.H. (eds.) (2010). Flora of China 23: 1-515. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis.
    • Castroviejo, S. & al. (eds.) (2010). Flora Iberica 17: 1-298. Real Jardín Botánico, CSIC, Madrid.
    • Timberlake, J.R. & Martins, E.S. (eds.) (2009). Flora Zambesiaca 12(2): 1-208. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Takhtajan, A.L. (ed.) (2006). Conspectus Florae Caucasi 2: 1-466. Editio Universitatis Petropolitanae.
    • Germishuizen, G. & Meyer, N.L. (eds.) (2003). Plants of Southern Africa: an annotated checklist. Strelitzia 14.: i-vi, 1-1231. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
    • Grubov, V.I. (2001). Key to the Vascular Plants of Mongolia 1: 1-411. Science Publishers, Inc. Enfield, USA. Plymouth, U.K.
    • Krasnoborov, I.M. (ed.) (2000). Flora of Siberia 1: 1-189. Scientific Publishers, Inc., Enfield, Plymouth.
    • Flora of North America Editorial Committee (2000). Flora of North America North of Mexico 22: 1-352. Oxford University Press, New York, Oxford.
    • Edwards, S., Demissew, S. & Hedberg, I. (eds.) (1997). Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea 6: 1-586. The National Herbarium, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia & The Department of Systematic Botany, Upps.
    • Zuloaga, F.O. & Morrone, O. (eds.) (1996). Pteridophyta, Gymnospermae y Angiospermae (Monocotyledoneae) Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares de la República Argentina 1: 1-323. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis.
    • Boulos, L. (1995). Flora of Egypt Checklist: i-xii, 1-287. Al Hadara Publishing, Cairo.
    • H?, P.-H. (1993). Câyc? Vi?tnam. An Illustrated flora of Vietnam 3(1): 1-603d. Pham-hoang Ho, Montréal.
    • Kharkevich, S.S. (ed.) (1987). Plantae Vasculares Orientalis Extremi Sovietici 2: 1-448. Nauka, Leningrad.
    • Townsend, C.C. & Guest, E. (eds.) (1985). Flora of Iraq 8: 1-440. Ministry of Agriculture & Agrarian Reform, Baghdad.
    • Davis, P.H. (ed.) (1984). Flora of Turkey and the East Aegean Islands 8: 1-632. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh.
    • Ohwi, J. (1984). Flora of Japan (in English): 1-1067. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
    • Healey, A.J. & Edgar, E. (1980). Flora of New Zealand 3: 1-220. R.E.Owen, Government Printer, Wellington.
    • Hara, H., Stearn, W.T. & Williams, H.J. (1978). An Enumeration of the Flowering Plants of Nepal 1: 1-154. Trustees of British Museum, London.
    • Symoens, J.J. & Billet, F. (1975). Flore d'Afrique Centrale (Zaïre - Rwanda - Burundi) Alismataceae: 1-21. Jardin Botanique National de Belgique, Meise.
    • Ghafoor, A. (1974). Flora of Pakistan 68: 1-12. Department of Botany, University of Karachi, Karachi.
    • Navas Bustamante, L.E. (1973). Flora de la Cuenca de Santiago de Chile 1: 1-301. Comisión Central de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Chile.
    • Rechinger. K.H. (1971). Flora Iranica 78-86 Naturhistorisches Museums Wien.
    • Ovczinnikov, P.N. (ed.) (1957). Flora Tadzhikskoi SSR 1: 1-547. Izd-vo Akademii nauk SSSR, Moskva.
    • Pavlov, N.V. (ed.) (1956). Flora Kazakhstana 1: 1-354. Alma-Ata, Izd-vo Akademii nauk Kazakhskoi SSR.
    • Nikitina, E.V. & Protopopov, G.F. (eds.) (1952). Flora Kirgizskoi SSR 1: 1-103. Frunze : Izd-vo KirgizFAN SSSR.
    • Maire, R. (1952). Flore de l'Afrique du Nord 1: 1-366. Paul Lechevalier, Paris.
    • Merkodovich, N.A. (ed.) (1941). Flora Uzbekistana 1: 1-566. Izd-va Akademii nauk Uzbekskoi SSR, Tashkent.
    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    • Buchen., A. Engler, Das Pflanzenreich IV. 15: 13 (1903), pro parte.
    • C. H. Wright in Flora of Tropical Africa 8: 207 (1902).
    • L., Sp. Pl.: 342 (1753).

    Sources

    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

    Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
    'The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet http://www.kew.org/herbcat [accessed on Day Month Year]'. Please enter the date on which you consulted the system.
    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2019. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2019. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Species Profiles
    Kew Species Profiles
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0