Aquatic plants

For a wildlife pond or nature friendly water bank vegetation is important. Plants that like their roots moist or standing in the water. On this page some plants will be discussed which can be used for this purpose. The planting will be divided into several groups. Planting for deeper water, this water is more than 30 cm deep. Planting for the water's edge, this is what plants can grow in shallow water along the bank. Planting higher on the bank, this is planting which does not want to stand in the water, but close enough to the shore to still reach the water with the roots.

Beplanting voor dieper water

A nature friendly bank where flora can grow naturally. ​Photo: Zoetnet.

Beplanting voor de oeverzone

Beplanting voor hoger op de oever

Arrowhead - Sagittaria sagittifolia

flowering plant in the family Alismataceae, native to wetlands most of Europe and a huge part of the world. Sagittaria sagittifolia is a perennial plant, growing in water from 10–50 cm deep ans stands up to 45 cm above water level. The flowers are 2-2.5 cm broad, with three small sepals and three white petals, and numerous purple stamens.

Cape-pondweed - Aponogeton distachyos

Native to South Africa's Western Cape and Mpumalanga provinces, but introduced elsewhere in quiet ponds in warm temperate to subtropical climates in winter rainfall areas. It grows in ponds and vleis which dry up in summer, becoming dormant in the dry summer and growing again when the pools fill with autumn rain

Frogbit- Hydrocharis morsus-ranae

It is a small floating plant resembling a small water lily. It bears small, three-petalled white flowers. The floating leaves are kidney-shaped and grow in rosettes on the water surface, with the roots hanging down into the water column but not normally touching bottom. Frogbit is fast growing and spreads rapidly by stolons, surviving the winter as dormant turions which rest on the bottom, rising again to the surface in spring. Frogbit is native to Europe and parts of Asia.

Fringed water-lily - Nymphoides peltata

An aquatic plant of the family Menyanthaceae native to Eurasia. It has cordate floating leaves that support a lax inflorescence of yellow flowers with fringed petal margins. The fruit is a capsule bearing many flattened seeds with stiff marginal hairs. It is commonly found in ponds and slow moving bodies of water. It cannot grow in the shade and has to have a relatively deep body of water. Flowers bloom in July to September, while the seeds ripen from August to October.

Yellow Water-lily - Nuphar lutea

This aquatic plant grows in shallow water and wetlands, with its roots in the sediment and its leaves floating on the water surface; it can grow in water up to 5 metres deep. It is usually found in shallower water than the white water lily, and often in beaver ponds. Since the flooded soils are deficient in oxygen, aerenchyma in the leaves and rhizome transport oxygen to the rhizome. Often there is mass flow from the young leaves into the rhizome, and out through the older leaves. The rhizomes are often consumed by muskrats. The flower is solitary, terminal, held above the water surface; it is hermaphrodite, 2–4 cm diameter, with five or six large bright yellow sepals and numerous small yellow petals largely concealed by the sepals. Flowering is from June to September, and pollination is entomophilous, by flies attracted to the alcoholic scent. The flower is followed by a green bottle-shaped fruit, containing numerous seeds which are dispersed by water currents. The species is less tolerant of water pollution than water-lilies in the genus Nymphaea.

European white water lily - Nymphaea alba

An aquatic flowering plant of the family Nymphaeaceae. It grows in water that is 30–150 cm (12–59 in) deep and likes large ponds and lakes. The leaves can be up to 30 cm (12 in) in diameter and take up a spread of 150 cm (59 in) per plant. The flowers are white and they have many small stamens inside. They are found all over Europe and in parts of North Africa and the Middle East in fresh water.

Branched bur-reed - Sparganium erectum

perennial plant in the Sparganiaceae family. It's native to Eurasia and North-Africa. The plant can grow up to 30 - 100 cm high and forms thick roots. It flowers from june to septembre. The fruit is a small nut. The plant grows in fresh, nutrient rich water. 

Water mint - Mentha aquatica

Water mint is a herbaceous rhizomatous perennial plant growing to 90 centimetres (35 in) tall. The stems are square in cross section, green or purple, and variably hairy to almost hairless. The rhizomes are wide-spreading, fleshy, and bear fibrous roots. The leaves are ovate to ovate-lanceolate, 2 to 6 centimetres (0.79 to 2.36 in) long and 1 to 4 centimetres (0.39 to 1.57 in) broad, green (sometimes purplish), opposite, toothed, and vary from hairy to nearly hairless. The flowers of the watermint are tiny, densely crowded, purple, tubular, pinkish to lilac in colour and form a terminal hemispherical inflorescence; flowering is from mid to late summer. Water mint is visited by many types of insects, and can be characterized by a generalized pollination syndrome, but can also spread by underground rhizomes. All parts of the plant have a distinctly minty smell. A variety known as Mentha aquatica var. litoralis is native to areas of Sweden and Finland near the Baltic Sea. It is unbranched, hairless, with narrower leaves and paler flowers. Water mint is native to much of Europe, northern Africa and western Asia. It has been introduced to North and South America, Australia and some Atlantic islands.

Purple loosestrife - Lythrum salicaria

flowering plant belonging to the family Lythraceae. Lythrum salicaria is a herbaceous perennial plant, that can grow 1–2 m tall, forming clonal colonies 1.5 m or more in width with numerous erect stems growing from a single woody root mass. The stems are reddish-purple or red to purple and square in cross-section. The leaves are lanceolate, 3–10 cm long and 5–15 mm broad, downy and sessile, and arranged opposite or in whorls of three. The flowers are reddish purple, 10–20 mm diameter, with six petals (occasionally five) and 12 stamens, and are clustered tightly in the axils of bracts or leaves; there are three different flower types, with the stamens and style of different lengths, short, medium or long; each flower type can only be pollinated by one of the other types, not the same type, thus ensuring cross-pollination between different plants. The flowers are visited by many types of insects, and can be characterized by a generalized pollination syndrome.

Flowering rush - Butomus umbellatus

Other than suggested by its English common name, it is not a true rush. It is native to Old World continents and grows on the margins of still and slowly moving water down to a depth of about 3 m. It has pink flowers. Introduced into North America as an ornamental plant it has now become a serious invasive weed[citation needed] in the Great Lakes area and in parts of the Pacific Northwest.[6] In Israel, one of its native countries, it is an endangered species due to the dwindling of its habitat. It can also be found in Great Britain locally, for example Butomus umbellatus at Gwent Levels SSSI on the Caldicot and Wentloog Levels.

Yellow flag - Iris pseudacorus

species in the genus Iris, of the family Iridaceae. It is native to Europe, western Asia and northwest Africa. Its specific epithet, meaning "false acorus," refers to the similarity of its leaves to those of Acorus calamus, as they have a prominently veined mid-rib and sword-like shape. It is an herbaceous flowering perennial plant, growing to 100–150 centimetres (39–59 in) (or a rare 2 metres (6 ft 7 in)) tall, with erect leaves up to 90 centimetres (35 in) long and 3 centimetres (1.2 in) broad. The flowers are bright yellow, 7–10 centimetres (2.8–3.9 in) across, with the typical iris form. The fruit is a dry capsule 4–7 centimetres (1.6–2.8 in) long, containing numerous pale brown seeds. I. pseudacorus grows best in very wet conditions, and is often common in wetlands, where it tolerates submersion, low pH, and anoxic soils. The plant spreads quickly, by both rhizome and water-dispersed seed. It fills a similar niche to that of Typha and often grows with it, though usually in shallower water. While it is primarily an aquatic plant, the rhizomes can survive prolonged dry conditions.

Marsh-marigold - Caltha palustris

A small to medium size perennial herbaceous plant of the family Ranunculaceaenative to marshesfens, ditches and wet woodland in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. It flowers between April and August, dependent on altitude and latitude, but occasional flowers may occur at other times. 

Bistort - Persicaria bistorta

species of flowering plant native to Europe and north and west Asia. P. bistorta is an herbaceous perennial growing to 75 cm (30 in) tall by 90 cm (35 in) wide. The foliage is normally basal with a few smaller leaves produced near the lower end of the flowering stems. The leaves are oblong-ovate or triangular-ovate in shape and narrow at the base. The petioles are broadly winged. The plant blooms from late spring into autumn, producing tall stems ending in single terminal racemes that are club-like spikes, 5–7 cm (2–3 in) long, of rose-pink flowers. The plant grows in moist soils and under dry conditions goes dormant, losing its foliage until adequate moisture exists again.

Heartleaf Oxeye - Telekia speciosa

A perennial plant up to 200 cm high. De large yellow flowers are loved with pollinators. It loves a moist location and flowers from juli untill august.

Ragged-Robin - Silene flos-cuculi

A herbaceous perennial plant in the family Caryophyllaceae. It is species is native to Europe, where it is found along roads and in wet meadows and pastures. In Britain it has declined in numbers because of modern farming techniques and draining of wet-lands and is no longer common. However, Lychnis flos-cuculi has become naturalized in parts of the northern United States and eastern Canada and has been listed as potentially invasive in some areas.

Marsh woundwort - Stachys palustris

An edible perennial grassland herb growing to 80 centimeters tall. It is native to parts of Eurasia but has been introduced to North America. Marsh woundwort is a perennial plant growing from a horizontal tuberous runner.The marsh woundwort is native to Europe and Asia. Its typical habitat is near the shore of lakes, in marshes with alder trees, on the banks of ditches and streams, in damp meadows, in arable ground and in waste places. In arable land, it is a difficult weed to get rid of because of its persistent tubers. Although the marsh woundwort has little fragrance, it is very attractive to bumblebees. Nectar indicators guide the insect to probe into the centre of the flower and the anthers of the stamens and the pistils are correctly located for the insect to transfer pollen between flowers. The seeds of this plant disperse well, the dry fruit capsules float away and this probably why the plant is frequently found on the banks of lakes and other bodies of water. It also spreads vegetatively by means of hollow tuberous root which can throw up shoots far from the original plant.

Cuckooflower - Cardamine pratensis

flowering plant in the family Brassicaceae, native throughout most of Europe and Western Asia. Cardamine pratensis is a herbaceous, hairless, perennial plant growing to 40–60 cm tall, with pinnate leaves 5–12 cm long with 3-15 leaflets, each leaflet about 1 cm long. The flowers are produced on a spike 10–30 cm long, each flower 1–2 cm in diameter with four pale pink (rarely white) petals. The style of the fruit is short or longish. It grows best close to water. Its common name cuckooflower derives from the formation of the plant's flowers at around the same time as the arrival each spring of the first cuckoos in the British Isles. It is grown as an ornamental plant in gardens, and has become naturalised in North America as a result of cultivation. In some European countries, including parts of Germany, the plant is now under threat. It is a food plant for the orange tip butterfly (Anthocharis cardamines) and makes a valuable addition to any garden which aims at attracting wildlife. It was once used as a substitute for watercress.

Common fleabane - Pulicaria dysenterica

A species of fleabane in the daisy family. It is native to Europe and western Asia where it grows in a variety of habitats ranging from semi-arid Mediterranean woodlands to wetter situations. Pulicaria dysenterica is perennial and can form dense clusters of plants, spreading by its roots. It flowers at its maximum height of about 60 centimetres (2.0 ft). Leaves are alternately arranged and clasp the stem, which itself contains a salty-astringent liquid. The yellow inflorescences are typically composed of a prominent centre of 40–100 disc florets surrounded by 20–30 narrow, pistillate ray florets. When setting seed the flower heads reflex. Fleabane's common name comes from its former use as an incense to drive away insects. Other past uses include treatments for dysentery and unspecified ocular maladies.

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