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Water Plantain – Alisma plantago aquatica

Water Plaintain (Alisma plantago aquatica) is sometimes known as common water platain, Devil’s Spoons, Mad Dog Weed or Thumbwort.  This is a semi- awuatic plant that is not related to the genus Plantago.

Water Plantain, as its name suggests, is an aquatic plant that is often found in the shallow water on the muddy banks of slow moving water sources and are often a resting place for many water insects such as, caddis flies and Alder Flies. This plant can reach up to 30cm in height with a long fleshy stem, the leaves are ribbed and rounded at the base and a green/grey colour. The flowers are open and white, sometimes they can appear to be pink or have a pale lilac tinge to them. They can reach up to 15mm in diamete and usually appear with 3 petals. The seeds of this plant are found inside a cluster of achenes, which contain one seed roughly 7mm in diameter, the seeds casing are buoyant which is an advantage to allowing dispersion over water.

Once the plant begins to flower, the stems emerge in the center of the base made of leaves, eventually a white, pink or lilac flower emerges in the afternoon, this is to allow the flower to be pollinated by insects for only a short peroid before the flower closes again at dusk.
Height: Up to 100cm
Flowering Time: June to August
Preferred Conditions: Usually found around the outskirts of ponds and in ditches. This plant prefers to grow in damp soil and areas of changing water levels.

Water Plantain - Alisma plantago aquatica