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Barclaya longifolia


  1. Re:Barclaya
    by krombhol/ (Paul Krombholz) ()
  2. Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #114
    by George Booth <booth/> (Sun, 1 Mar 1998)
  3. Barclaya Longfolia flower stalks and seeds
    by George Booth <booth/> (Thu, 2 Jul 1998)
  4. Barclaya observation
    by "Beard, Kelly" <KBeard/> (Fri, 9 Oct 1998)
  5. Barclaya longifolia
    by "Roger S. Miller" <rgrmill/> (Sat, 14 Nov 1998)
  6. Stagnant plants
    by "Roger S. Miller" <rgrmill/> (Fri, 15 Jan 1999)
  7. growing Barclaya
    by "Roger S. Miller" <rgrmill/> (Mon, 28 Jun 1999)
  8. Barclaya
    by "btpmsi" <btpmsi/> (Wed, 15 Mar 2000)


by krombhol/ (Paul Krombholz)

Roger S. Miller wrote, Sat, Feb. 28:
>....Incidentally, was anybody going to respond to my questions about barclaya

I had hoped someone else who has had experience with Barclaya would have
answered it.  I have read in several books that Barclaya flowers
self-fertilize even if they don't reach the surface.  The seeds, the books
say, should never be stored dry and the young plants should be allowed to
float for a while before they are planted.

Every time I have got a Barclaya tuber I never got anything from it.  not a
leaf or a root.

Paul Krombholz, in central Mississippi where it is clear and cool.  

Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #114

by George Booth <booth/>
Date: Sun, 1 Mar 1998

>From: "Roger S. Miller" <>
>Subject: Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #113
>Incidentally, was anybody going to respond to my questions about barclaya 

I wasn't but I could if no one else does. 

<fingers drumming impatiently on the desk>

OK, I guess no one else is going to. 

Our B.l. did about the same as yours is doing.  Many flower stems, most not 
opening very much.  However, after awhile some of the flower pods did open with 
the outer petals laying flat on the water surface. The inner petals weren't 
exciting but some did turn to seed and new B.l. sproutlets appeared here and 
there without any help from us. 

This happended with twp separate plants, under both MH and FL light.  One tnak 
was 24" deep (MH) and the other was 20" deep (FL).  One tank had laterite and 
substrate heat ("warm feet") and the other had just laterite. 

Both plants eventually went dormant then came back again but less robustly than 
before (puny short leaves).  We don't have them anymore. 

George Booth in Ft. Collins, Colorado 

Barclaya Longfolia flower stalks and seeds

by George Booth <booth/>
Date: Thu, 2 Jul 1998

>Date: Wed, 1 Jul 1998 15:05:41 -0500 
>From: "Beard, Kelly" <>
>I have a monster Barclaya plant that is sending up two flower stalks, and
>the two printed references I have say that the flower stalks produce seed
>capable of germinating.  Has anyone ever done this?  


>Since the flower stays closed under water, at what time do you know that the 
>seeds are ready to be harvested?  

The plant is searching for the surface. The flower pods that stay under water 
won't do much. It will keep sending up flowers until one finally makes it ot the 
surface. The petals will spread on the surface and you'll see a so-so blue 
flower.  When this happens, take a small paint brush, collect some pollen, 
spread it around the flower while saying "bee-bee-bee-bee". It helps if you have 
a friend in the background making buzzing sounds.  

>How are the seeds planted?  

We let nature take it's course. They eventually ripen, fall off and sink to the 

>How big are they?  

Around 1/8" in size and sort of pyramid shaped. Like Aponogeton seeds if I 
remember right.  Or maybe I'm thinking of Aponogeton seeds ...

George Booth in Ft. Collins, Colorado

Barclaya observation

by "Beard, Kelly" <KBeard/>
Date: Fri, 9 Oct 1998

I've had numerous flower heads on Barclaya plants never reach the surface of
water, and so never open up for pollenation, yet these heads have swollen
with seeds a few times and "exploded" during the night, leaving a stalk with
no head and bulb fragments floating on the water.  The seeds probably are
always sucked up by the Eheim surface extractor, although a few have managed
to sprout a leaf or two before being sucked up by the filter (so far I've
not bothered to try and raise the seeds).  I have a few stuck in the surface
extractor right now, which I'm going to dig out and push down in the
substrate and see what happens.

Just a pointless ramble.

"The passing of time leaves empty lives, waiting to be filled".
- -- Morrissey

Kelly Beard, Cat IV, Team Allanti
President, Allanti Cycling Club - 
I/T, IBM Global Services

Barclaya longifolia

by "Roger S. Miller" <rgrmill/>
Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998

On Sat, 14 Nov 1998, Tsu Yang Chen wrote:

> Subject: Barclaya longifolia
> can anyone tell me how to cultivate this plant successfully, its annual rhythm
> etc.? [snip]

Well, I can only tell you what's happened to mine.

I've been growing barclaya for only about a year and I haven't seen it go
dormant yet.  I started with two rhizomes that were just starting to show
leaves.  About 2 months later they reached about 1/2 their eventual size
and started to flower.

When they started to flower the plants nearly ceased to increase in size. 
I let the flower development continue for about 6 weeks but the plants
seemed to get progressively weaker.  I never did get viable seeds out of
the plants (other people do get viable seeds) so I started trimming off
the developing flower buds as soon as they appeared to see if that would
allow healthier growth. 

I suspect that if I let the plants continue flowering that they would
never have gotten much bigger and eventually would have just slid into
dormancy.  Instead they more than doubled the length and breadth of their
leaves and got so thick that they dominated one end of a 55 gallon tank
with a big cloud of red foliage.  Pretty cool plant. 

Tank conditions:  soft, well buffered water and yeast-generated CO2,
mature substrate of coarse aquarium gravel and sand-blasting grit with
plenty of built-up mulm, temperature 77 degrees F (to mid 80's in summer
heat), 3 watts per gallon lighting from "daylight" flourescents.  I
augment the water with epson salt for magnesium and use fertilizers with
chelated iron and potassium.  The tank normally is unfiltered. 

Recently I removed 1/3 of the substrate and replaced it with fine sand.  
At that time I moved the barclaya plants closer to the back of the tank.  
One of the rhizomes - originally a little bigger than a marble - was about 4 
inches long and almost an inch thick.  The other was about half that size.

The plants initially stopped blooming and leaf growth slowed after
transplanting.  It looks now like the plant will lose most of the old
leaves probably because of the transplanting shock and partly because of a
green water episode that started a little later.

The plants seem to be recovering; new growth appeared at the original
growth center and from at least two new centers and the plant is just now
starting to put up a new flower bud.  I'm watching closely to see if the 
plant returns to its original state or if it will decline into dormancy.

Roger Miller


End of Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #645

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Stagnant plants

by "Roger S. Miller" <rgrmill/>
Date: Fri, 15 Jan 1999

On Fri, 15 Jan 1999, Kelly Beard wrote:

> Well, a couple of months down the road everything is not well.  My Barclaya
> is still alive and is producing flower stalks, but it is not growing new
> leaves.  In my 20 gallon I did nothing special - I used PMDD and Seachem
> Florish tabs in the substrate.  Here is a quick run down on the differences
> between my 20 gallon and 75 gallon:
> 20 gallon:
> 40 watts of GE Chroma 50s.
> 2" Pea sized gravel (medium)
> PMDD and Seachem Florish tabs
> 75 gallon:
> 220 watts of URI AquaSuns
> 4" "BB" sized gravel with DuplaRit laterite in bottom 3rd
> Duplaplant tabs at water change, Duplaplant 24 drops and Seachem Florish
> tabs

About 3 months ago (I think it was) I rebuilt the substrate in my tank
where I grew Barclaya.  I uprooted the plants (huge things, at the time),
trimmed the roots and replanted.  That shocked them a little, and their
foliage growth stopped for several weeks.  I suspect that root regrowth
was going on at that time.  When growth restarted above the substrate the
plant put out a couple of new leaves then a flurry of new flower stalks
(which I trimmed off); new leaf growth slowed after the flower stalks
started developing.  Since then new leaf development has picked up, but
the new leaves are not as large as the old ones.  I suspect that new leaf
growth is smaller because the new substrate is not yet mature; I think the
plant will eventually return to its old, tank-dominating ways.

You should probably wait longer before taking any action based on the
Barclaya's behavior.  It was probably shocked by transplanting and might
resume normal growth if given enough time.


Terrestrial flowering plants respond to different fertilizers
with different types of growth.  You can go to the store and buy different
fertilizers to promote robust foliage growth, get big flowers, or grow
heavy fruit.  I've not heard or read any discussion to this effect, but I
suspect that the same thing will hold true for aquatic plants; different
fertilizers may stimulate different responses from the plants.  Perhaps
the combination of substrate and fertilizers that your using now is better
for promoting flowering but not so good for producing foliage, and your
old PMDD system was better at promoting foliage growth.

I don't think I'd fiddle with the fertilizers unless I say an
unsatisfactory pattern of growth in more than one type of plant.

I understand that the Dupla products form a self-contained maintenance
system.  Why did you chose to fold the Flourish tabs in with the
supposedly complete system provided by the Dupla products?

Roger Miller

growing Barclaya

by "Roger S. Miller" <rgrmill/>
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999

On Mon, 28 Jun 1999, Olga wrote:

> I have a small
> (tiny) B.l. growing in my 33 gallon flourite substrate tank. Any
> suggestions for boosting its growth? What were your nutrient problems?

If I had poor growth in Barclaya longifolia I might try some of these

1) pinch off all flower buds as soon as they appear.
2) if light is bright, then reduce the light and/or shade the plants.
3) provide more potassium and/or in soft water add more magnesium.
4) reduce other nutrients in the water column.

Your actual course of action will of course depend on what you're doing
with them now.  My experience follows:

Right now the plants are in 1 1/2 inches of plain, fine sand over about 2
inches of old (10+ years) coarse gravel with lots of mulm.  I don't think
details of the substrate are real important here, but shucks, maybe they

The tank gets moderate amounts of CO2 (DIY) and has as long as the
barclaya has been there, so I can't tell you how changes in CO2 might
effect things.  I tried adding jobes spikes around the Barclaya once, but
I got no results and stopped.  I add iron with bits of Fe gluconate
tablets pushed in around plants, but I don't think I've ever fed the
Barclaya that way.

I bought the plants as bare tubers and planted them in a coarse, aged
gravel substrate.  At first they grew 6" leaves then started flowering.
After they started flowering the plants got progressively weaker.  So I
started pinching off the flower buds as they appeared and the plants got
quite a bit stronger, but the leaves stayed around 8 inches long.

The plants were originally unshaded in a 55 gallon tank that had 4X40
watts of GE daylight ~5000K fluorescents.

Since then, I removed and replaced the top part of the old substrate with
fine washed river sand (so far this appears to be a mistake), started
adding potassium and magnesium to the water (this helped the plants hold
on to their older leaves) and rewired the lights to run 3 tubes over the
tank instead of 4.  I planted some banana plants and Egeria densa near
the Barclaya and those shaded the Barclaya some.  Also, my not-so-pygmy
pygmy chain swords started moving in fairly close to the Barclaya.

After all that the Barclaya started putting out bigger leaves.  They're
now about 14 inches long (mostly leaf blade - the petioles are only 3 or 4
inches long) and just reaching the water surface.  I think the change in
growth was probably mostly a response to the reduced light, but probably
also a response to the competition for light (greener light).  I'm still
pinching off the buds (but I apparently missed at least one) and I intend
to keep doing that.

The plants aren't losing leaves as quickly as they used to, so they're
getting very full.  These are spectacular plants with delicate leaves, red
when first growing and when mature dark green on top and pink on the
bottom with pink or red petioles.  Now that they're up to almost 20
leaves/plant they really dominate their part of the tank.

That's most all I can think of that might have contributed to their
success.  The only other thing that I can think of is that I try to keep
the nutrients in the water to a minimum - aside from the K and Mg that I
mix with my change water to get 5 mg/l K and 1 degree of Mg hardness I add
no fertilizers of any kind to the water column.

I wish I could guarantee you that these were reproducable results, but I
can't.  Your mileage may vary.  I also don't know how long it might take
to get the seedlings to develop a good tuber, how to encourage them into
doing it or whether I can divide the rhizome of my large plants.  Any
experience? Anyone?

Roger Miller

P.S.  Oh yeah, uprooting the plants and replanting them can shock them
into a period of poor growth or outright dormancy.  Do so carefully.


by "btpmsi" <btpmsi/>
Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2000

Dear all,

Just a couple of observations to follow on the thread of sometime ago about
algae and Barclaya longifolia. Someone stated that they thought algae didn't
grow very well on Barclaya leaves and I wanted to chime in and say that this
has been my experience also. I've got a terrific stand of filamentous stuff
growing robustly in my Sunfish tank. I've decided that it looks good to
leave some of it in place and watch it sway gently in the current of the
filter outflow.  But there is not a lick of any visible algae growing on the

On a different subject, I wanted to relate my experience with growing this
plant successfully after several tries. I put some Barclaya bulbs in the
gravel substrate of the fifty-five gallon tank that houses several adult
Bluespotted Sunfish. To simulate Spring I turn the heater on every year
around January so that the temp. rises from a low of about 66 F to a high of
around 75F. This temp is maintained until, oh say October, when I unplug the
heater and let the tank cool down into the sixties. Each year the Barclaya
has responded to the cold by losing it's leaves and going dormant. Then in
the heat of the simulated "Spring", new leaves appear more numerously and at
least 50% longer than each of the previous seasons.  This year the leaves
are about to reach out of the tank and I am hoping for flowers. I am going
to be breaking down the tank for a move to a new house soon, so my
experiment will be interrupted. I may try and force the plants into dormancy
again in order to move the plants in bulb form to minimize transplant shock.


Metroserv, Inc.
Brian Perkins, President
Tigard, OR

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