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Alternanthera ("scarlet Hygro")


  1. Alternanthera sessilis underwater
    by (Paul Krombholz) (Mon, 4 Aug 1997)
  2. Questions: Telanthera
    by krombhol/ (Paul Krombholz) (Sat, 24 Jan 1998)
  3. plants grown emersed
    by krombhol/ (Paul Krombholz) (Fri, 13 Mar 1998)
  4. Stem Plants and Pruning (& territorial fish)
    by busko/ (Ivo Busko) (Mon, 27 Mar 2000)

Alternanthera reineckii

(true aquatic?)

Alternanthera sessilis

(bog plant!)

Photos by Erik Olson

Alternanthera sessilis underwater

by (Paul Krombholz)
Date: Mon, 4 Aug 1997

Several months ago there was some discussion about whether or not
Alternanthera sessilis would grow underwater.  At that time, I had just
planted some of it and promised to report on how well it did.

It really doesn't do well at all underwater, even with extra CO2.  Although
my plants didn't die, they hardly grew at all, with about half of the old
leaves falling off and the new leaves clasped tight to the stem and not
expanding more than about 5 millimeters.   After two months one stem
reached the surface, and then started fairly rapid above-water growth with
normal looking leaves.  In about three weeks it grew 8 inches, while, in
contrast, the underwater plants had no visible growth during the same time
period.  The fact that the above-water portion grew so rapidly indicates
that nutrients were in good supply. The water was clear, and therefore, the
below-water plants got almost as much light.

My experience confirms Kasselmann's recommendation that this species be
used only in a paludarium.

Paul Krombholz                  Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS  39174, in
Jackson, Mississippi, where it got up to 97 yesterday, the air conditioning
where I work is dead, and the scattered showers are still appearing
somewhere else, usually just to the East.  

Questions: Telanthera

by krombhol/ (Paul Krombholz)
Date: Sat, 24 Jan 1998

>From: "Chetlen R. Crossnoe" <>
>Subject: Questions:  Telanthera, Kent mixture

>.....A few weeks ago I bought a stem plant called Telanthera.  It is very
>red and in shape looks quite a bit like Hygrophila polysperma except the
>leaves are longer and more pointed.  I found this plant on the big plant
>list at the Krib but have not found any mention of it on any of the lists
>that give more information.  It is mentioned a couple of times in the
>archives, but never with any real information.
According to Kasselmann, Telanthera is an older name for Alternanthera.
Your plant sounds like a variety of Alternanthera reineckii called (in
German) lilablattig.  It translates into something like lilac-colored
leaves. I have something that looks like it that came to me as
Alternenthera cardinalis.  It is _very_ red with no hint of green.   By the
way, I hope Michael Eckhardt is somewhere in the background, monotoring my
attempts to translate Kasselmann.  He really knows German.  I mostly guess
at the translation.

Paul Krombholz, in soggy central Mississippi where the water table is
getting back down to the surface of the ground.  

plants grown emersed

by krombhol/ (Paul Krombholz)
Date: Fri, 13 Mar 1998

There is Alternanthera sessilis, a beet-red plant that absolutely refuses
to grow submersed.  There is A. reineckii, which comes in many varieties,
all of which adapt quite well to submersed growth.  The appearance of an
emerse-grown plant is not very helpful in determining if it can also be
grown submersed, just as the appearance of a worm doesn't give much
indication that it can turn into a butterfly.

I am now looking at some of those pictures of lushly planted Dutch
aquariums and seeing that the crypts were grown ermersed and stuck in there
and havn't had any time to grow before the picture was taken.  How many of
those beautifully manacured and arranged aquaria were planted shortly
before the picture was taken?  Amano's tanks, on the other hand look like
the plants have really been growing there, underwater, for quite some time
before the picture was taken.  They do look, however, like they have been
carefully trimmed and arranged.

Paul Krombholz, in chilly central Mississippi where the warm front came
early and we didn't break a low temeperature record.  

Stem Plants and Pruning (& territorial fish)

by busko/ (Ivo Busko)
Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2000 wrote:

> I think the basic question here, is which plants can just be *mowed*? To my 
> knowledge the hygrophila plants can all be cut down this way. Cabomba has to 
> be pulled up and tops replanted. What about the Eusteralis stellata? 

I noticed that my Althernanthera reineckii roseafolia does not seem to stand 
too much pruning. It was growing healthy and beautifully red until I prunned
its outgrown stems a couple times. First I throwed out the growing tips and 
let the cutout stumps in place to regrow. They did so beautifully. Then I
pruned again and replanted the growing tips, throwing out the rooted stumps.
Again it recovered nicely. The third time, I again replanted the growing tips,
but then it slowed down noticeabily, lost its color even on the leaves' 
undersides, and new growth is coming out crinkled and small. Nothing else 
changed in the tank, it's been very stable for several months now. And all 
other plants in the same tank didn't change their behavior at all.

Could this be due to incorrect pruning technique ? What is the experience 
with this plant ? I treat my other stem plants (r. indica, h. polysperma and 
sunset, creeping charlie, mermaid weed) in the same way and they are responding
fine for about one year now.  All other about 20 plant species in the same
tank are doing great too.


- -Ivo Busko
 Baltimore, MD

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