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  1. Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #708
    by Khew Sin Sun <khewss/> (Tue, 15 Dec 1998)
  2. Micranthemoides
    by Erik Olson <erik/> (Mon, 14 Dec 1998)
  3. Micranthemum
    by Roxanne Bittman <RBITTMAN/> (Fri, 30 Apr 1999)
  4. RE:Mic. umbrosum
    by Tom Barr <tcbiii/> (Sun, 02 May 1999)
  5. RE:Mic. umbrosum
    by Kenny Poh <animator/> (Tue, 04 May 1999)
  6. Ground Cover
    by busko/ (Ivo Busko) (Tue, 13 Jul 1999)
  7. Ground Cover
    by Shireen Gonzaga <shireen/> (Tue, 13 Jul 1999)
  8. Micranthemum (Hemianthus) micranthemoides
    by "Edison C. Yap" <integrit/> (Tue, 10 Aug 1999)
  9. Pearl Grass
    by Neil Frank <nfrank/> (Tue, 24 Aug 1999)
  10. Terrestrial babytears = aquatic babytears?
    by Mark Pan <mmenace/> (Mon, 31 Jan 2000)
  11. Amano Pearl Grass
    by Neil Frank <nfrank/> (Wed, 20 Dec 2000)
  12. Trimming Micranthemum Micranthemoides?
    by Dwight <boukmn/> (Tue, 29 Aug 2000)
  13. Re:Rotting Micranthemum
    by krombhol/ (Paul Krombholz) (Sat, 23 Sep 2000)

Micranthemum umbrosum

Photo by Erik Olson

Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #708

by Khew Sin Sun <khewss/>
Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998

>Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998 10:40:47 -0800
>From: "Dixon, Steven T. (Exchange)" <>
>Subject: Micranthemoides
>Someone mentioned using Micranthemoides as a carpet plant the other day.
>I want to take a moment a try to figure out which plant we're talking
>about.  There is a small plant from SE USA and Cuba with whorls of 3-4
>pointed ovate leaves which looks a bit like a star from a distance.
>This is identified as Hemianthus micranthemoides in Baensch Atlas vol.
>1, Kasselmann's book and Pablo Tepoot's new book.  Baensch lists a
>common name of "Pearlweed."  It does indeed cover the gravel quickly and
>will grow both horizontally and vertically.  It is a robust and lovely
>little plant with many uses. I have used it as ground cover and also let
>it grow to 20 inches in height!  Amano's books appear to routinely
>"misidentify" this plant as Micranthemum micranthemoides.  I had a hard
>time noticing this, perhaps because I didn't realize how small this
>plant really is in the pictures of Amano's tanks.

I've been seeking an answer to this for years too but so far,no one has
mentioned how these two names are related/not related! :-)
So,forming my own conclusion,i would say that Hemianthus = Micranthemum.
And they are used "interchangebly".
Can someone correct me or agree with me here? :-P

>There is another plant named Micranthemum umbrosum, also from the SE
>USA, with opposite roundish paired leaves which are not pointed.  I have
>no experience with this plant, but it looks (from the pictures) like it
>grows quite similarly to H. micranthemoides.  I gather that these two
>plants were at one time regarded as member of the same genus, but no

The M.Umbrosum is becoming more available here in Singapore these past 6
months or so and I find that it is just as easy to cultivate the Umbrosum
as the Micranthemoides. "Texture"-wise,of course the roundish leaves of the
Umbrosum makes for its "round and cute" properties as opposed to the more
"bushy" Micranthemoides.

As far as a carpet plant is concerned,i tend to see the M.Micranthemoides
grow along the gravel ONLY when the lights are intensely strong.
Otherwise,they grow upwards and i've allowed them to grow up to over 2ft.
tall before!! At this height,they tend to become stringy at the
bottom..probably due to lack of light.
I've tried "experimenting" with them by planting them sideways! This is
where the two ends are buried in the gravel. To my surprise,i found that in
this position it would encourage plantlets to grow from the nodes. So this
is one way to grow Micranthemoides in quantity fast and thick! ;-)
On that note,i would say that the Micranthemoides is more of a bush plant
than a carpet one. ;-)



by Erik Olson <erik/>
Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998

On Mon, 14 Dec 1998, Dixon, Steven T. (Exchange) wrote:

> There is another plant named Micranthemum umbrosum, also from the SE
> USA, with opposite roundish paired leaves which are not pointed.  I have
> no experience with this plant, but it looks (from the pictures) like it
> grows quite similarly to H. micranthemoides.  I gather that these two
> plants were at one time regarded as member of the same genus, but no
> longer.

I picked up some umbrosum from Houston.  It's a very pretty plant, and its
leaves are much bigger than micranthemoides.  It also seems much more
demanding, required more light and fertilizer balance.  Florida Aquatic
Nurseries stocks it.

   - Erik

- -- 
Erik Olson
erik at thekrib dot com


by Roxanne Bittman <RBITTMAN/>
Date: Fri, 30 Apr 1999

Growing Micranthemum micranthemoides seems to
offer challenges to some.  I have never had a
problem with it (until I dosed the tank with
Erythromycin; not recommended!), but some friends
sure have.

Anyway, it is a high-light requiring plant; I grow it with
3 watts/gallon.  2 watts/gallon may be a little low, but
you could try that.
Substrate is gravel with Duplarit G in lower third.
H20 is R/O mixed with tap to hardness of 2-4 GH, 2-4
KH; pH is 6.2 now (but it has been 6.8 in the past).
I pump in CO2 using compressed gas at a rate of
about 2 bubbles/second.
Fertilizer is added at weekly water change = Tropica
MG at the recommended dose or a little less.

The plant grows very fast; I have to trim it once a
week to keep it the way I want it.  Once every 3
months or so, I pull the whole "bunch" up and
separate the best parts and replant, because it tends
to grow thickly and lose its shape after awhile.

Trimming makes it branch of course, so it gets
bushier and bushier.  If the plant starts to "creep"
along the gravel, you can induce it to grow more
upright by lifting out the "runners" (I know, they're not
really runners) and trim them.  They get the picture
eventually, and stay up.

By the way, I never had any luck at all with the other
Micranthemum species: M. umbrosum; has anyone?
The latter just rotted at mid-stem over and over until
all I had were floating bits.

Hope this helps.

Roxanne Bittman

RE:Mic. umbrosum

by Tom Barr <tcbiii/>
Date: Sun, 02 May 1999

I was possessed to grow this plant at one point. It would grow great for
a few weeks. It looked great and a very effective beautiful bunch plant
so I really wanted to find/strike a balance to make room for it in my
tanks. I tried many set ups but did not do monoculture or emersed growth
set ups. If it can't grow well with other plants in a submersed set up,
I'm not that intrested......unless it is a crypt! But I have had a few
stems bounced back and are doing quite well now. Why? I'm not certain.
Trimming the tops and letting the "stumps" branch out ?
    Perhaps, in mass, they don't get enough of some nutrient after a few
weeks ? The plant does very well for a few weeks(maybe 2-4 weeks or so)
then yellowish leaves start setting in and the holes in the leaves
appear(turning to complete degeneration of most of the leaf), turning
the plant quite ratty and unattractive. There is some living tissue at
this point but no new growth. The other plants all do well in the test
tanks.No other plants exhibit the holes or degeneration. There maybe a
chemical inhibitor produced by another plant that affects this plant
when there is a mass of this plant. The small amount of M.umbrosum does
do well under very high light(QTL's) and daily dosing of Sera
fertilizer. Perhaps the roots new growth plays a role? After they(the
roots) have established themselves the new growth slows or stops?
Although there is good growth, the plant is somewhat pale in color. I
tend to wonder if Amano's use of this plant is a temporary set up after
the experience I have had with this plant. The clumps look very much
like the clumps I had growing the first week. Does anyone else have any
comments/successes on this plant? I'd like to hear from you.
Tom Barr       AGA
Still alittle possessed in SF where it is thinking about raining

RE:Mic. umbrosum

by Kenny Poh <animator/>
Date: Tue, 04 May 1999

Hi Tom,

I do have umbrosum in my tank too and experienced what you've experienced with them. They
grow well for a few weeks but started turning pale down below and the leaves then melt
away, leaving thin stalks with only some top leaves.

In my opinion, umbrosum needs extremely strong lights to keep them happy. When they grow
taller, the bottom leaves will not get enough of the light, and that's when the leaves
turn pale and fade away. If they are planted too close to one another, same thing would
happen when they grow taller.

So what I've done was to uproot the original bunch, trimmed away the unhealthy plants and
replanted, this time making sure that they be planted slightly apart. Also, I started
trimming them before they grew too tall, when they are less than half a foot long. What
you'll get is a bushier growth but hardly any yellowing of the bottom leaves, as there's
enough light penetration.

However, I'm sure one of these days the bush will get overcrowded and another replanting
exercise will have to be carried out. Well, at least the interval between replanting is
longer, and for its beauty, I don't mind doing it once in a while.

Kenny Poh

Ground Cover

by busko/ (Ivo Busko)
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 1999

> I'm looking for a plant suitable for a ground cover in the foreground of
> my tank (20 gal).  I've seen ideal plants that form a 'carpeted' affect
> in Amano's Tanks but I'm not sure of their names.  If anyone knows of a
> plant that fits these requirements, aswell as being moderately
> fast-growing and suitable for low light (1.5 watts/gallon), please reply
> to this message.
> Thanks in advance,
> Keely Bays

I had success with baby's tears (micranthemum micranthemoides). It did well
under 2 watt/gal, no CO2 and plain coarse gravel with a powerful UGF, hardly 
ideal for growing anything. Once I replanted it under the same light but with
all bells and whistles it performed like a weed. The only problem with
this plant as a ground cover is that it tends to grow upwards as well as
creeping on the bottom. So you need to prune it periodically if you want to
keep a "thin" carpet look. 

- -Ivo Busko

Ground Cover

by Shireen Gonzaga <shireen/>
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 1999

> From: (Ivo Busko)
> Subject: Re: Ground Cover

> I had success with baby's tears (micranthemum micranthemoides). It did
> well ... The only problem with this plant as a ground cover is that it
> tends to grow upwards as well as creeping on the bottom. So you need to
> prune it periodically if you want to keep a "thin" carpet look. 

Just cutting the tops off isn't enough. This encourages multiple shoots
from the same plant and you end up with a thick mass of foliage where not
enough light gets to the bottom and the leaves turn brown. In addition 
to pruning, I also thin the bed by pulling out plants where it looks too
thick. Those extra plants are either replanted in other tanks or given
away to friends. (My setup is 30w/gallon, no CO2, dosed with ferrovit.)

- -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Shireen Gonzaga, Freelance Science Writer, Baltimore, MD.
Telephone: 410-338-4412   E-mail:

Micranthemum (Hemianthus) micranthemoides

by "Edison C. Yap" <integrit/>
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999

I have a Micranthemum (Hemianthus) micranthemoides that floated to the
surface and then later on tranformed in to a floating plant.  It changed
into a totally different plant and it has much bigger leaf now.  I tried to
plant it again back to the sand but it would no longer return to its
original type, why is this?  Has anyone ever experienced this?  How can I
bring this plant back to its original type?

Thanks in advance!

Edison C. Yap

Pearl Grass

by Neil Frank <nfrank/>
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 1999

>From: "Berryman, David" <>
>Subject: Glossostigma elatinoides
> Also Amano uses a plant that he refers to as Pearl Grass.  Does
>anyone know the scientific name for it?  I was hoping to buy some Pearl
>Grass form someone on the list as well.

There are 2 related species called pearl grass. One is Hemianthus
micrantheimoides. Genus previously called Micranthemum micranthemoides.
The stems grow staight up. There are 4 leaves per node.In the Dennerle
book, it is pictured on p.105, plant #M31. There is similar plant which
grows more loosely, with pairs of alternating leaves. . It is listed as
"Micranthemum spec." (shown as M33, but it is not a good picture). I
suspect it should be called Hemianthus sp. I know for sure that Amano calls
this one "Pearl grass" because I got my original cutting directly from one
of his tanks. This one is my favorite. I liked it as soon as I first saw it
and have kept it going since 1995. Both of these delicate plants will
suffer if they are in a tank with large Echinodorus or other nutrient
sponges. Email me off line.

- --Neil

Terrestrial babytears = aquatic babytears?

by Mark Pan <mmenace/>
Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2000

on 31/1/00 3:34 pm, Thanh Vinh at wrote:

> There is a terrestrial groundcover called babytears.
> Is this the same as
> the aquatic babytears?

Yes, I believe so. The terrestial babys tears are actually micranthemums and
they should be kept in a pot which is watered "from below" that is, via
osmosis. The plate below the pot must be kept filled with water or the babys
tears will dry out very quick.

The aquatic version that I suspect is the same species is Micranthemum
umbrosum. This is the round leaf variety of micranthemums. I haven't got any
with me right now, but if you do, you might like to try growing them emersed
and see what happens. I had a friend once who tried it, and he said it grows
emersed quite well, although I hadn't seen it yet. Try it out Thanh. I know
the terrestial version is a very nice plant to have.

So far, I have grown hydrocotyle and lilaepsis emersed quite successfully.
Both of them are growing very well in pots in my balcony :-)

Mark Pan
- --
Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in
doing this, tell me how.
Baz Luhrman / Mary Schmich

Amano Pearl Grass

by Neil Frank <nfrank/>
Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000

From: Dwight <>

>Hemianthus micranthemoides I am told, is the "Amano" variety usually
>refered to as "Pearlgrass".  You can identify it b/c it has a pair of
>leaves at each joint.   Pearlgrass is the easier of the two to grow IMHO.
>I suspect that this is the one you have.

The plant that was offered at the AGA conference and which Amano gave me
when I visited him in Niigata __SHOULD NOT__ be called Hemianthus
micranthemoides. This plant has 2 leaves at each node which alternate in
direction. It also tends to grow in a more informal manner.

>Hemianthus umbrosum is what I've seen being sold as "Baby tears".   It is
>the more demanding plant.   I identify it b/c it has 3-4 leaves at each
>joint. I am told it is an American var.  

H. micranthemoides also has 3-4 leaves per node and it too is native to
America.  It's leaves are similar in size to the other Hemianthus species
(aka "pearl grass"). Umbrosum has larger leaves unless the plant is starved
of macronutrients.

I'm not entirely convinced they
>are different sp.  They could be distinct var. of the same species.  I am
>willing to accept arguements either way.

H.micrantemoides and Amano pearl grass grow very differently WHEN THEY ARE
IN THE SAME TANK. ALthough they are not necessarily different species, they
are different enough for an aquatic gardener's purposes.

>I have chosen to identify them both as Hemianthus micranthemoides and
>specify their common names so folks know they are two distinct & DIFFERENT

Arbitrarily assiging species names to a plant is not good practice and,
unfortunately contributes to the confusion regarding the identity of
aquarium plants. This has been done by most sellers of aquatic plants over


Trimming Micranthemum Micranthemoides?

by Dwight <boukmn/>
Date: Tue, 29 Aug 2000


>I've had this plant for only few months. Somewhere along the line it hit the 
>perfect look. Unfortunately, I let it go wild for longer than I should have. 
>I mowed it down today and it looks awful. It has a tendency to spread 
>horizontally as well as grow vertically,  and while trying to comb through 
>the stems to trim and thin out the patch a bit, entire stems were pulled up, 
>exposing roots, and leaving bald spots. I have it planted along the front, 
>which may not be the best position.

My ans:

I really dig this plant!  Tending it is just like tending a typical
suburban hedge.  Same rules apply in miniature.  The higher you let it
grow, the deeper into the non-leafy "mid-stem" region you'll have to cut.
Just like deep trimming a terrestrial hibiscus hedge.  It will also take
longer to recover BUT will look much finer when it does!

Trimming and replanting the cuttings in those patches you pulled up is
where the 10.5in Aquarium Landscapes tweezers come in.  It was designed for
just that type of task and makes short work of that job.


>Since this is my first major trimming session with this plant, what I'm 
>wondering is this: (Because I'm noticing it does not look as attractive 
>mid-stem as the tops--hopefully this is due to lack of light and being
>by spreading). Is this one of those plants you cut and replant the tip?


No!  It will recover no matter where its trimmed.  But, it will recover
faster if trimmed near the top.  I never trim near the top b/c the topiary
shape is maintained longer as a lower trim grows back in.  Unlike a plant
like Ludwigia grandelosia that will die if trimmed far from the top.  


>this is the case, I think I'll give it up.) Are there any good secrets to 
>growing an attractive hedge?


Decide what the maximum height you want your hedge to be and trim a little
below that.  This is a plant best used as a foreground in larger tanks and
as a mid-ground in smaller tanks.  A small tank combo Micranthemum
Micranthemoides with glossostigma in front comes off VERY well.  I've even
at times managed to maintain a "rolling hills" topiary like Amano's
"Rolling Riccia Hedge" w/ this plant with some well placed trimming.  Don't
give up on this plant yet.

Aquatic Landscaping Toolkit:

Re:Rotting Micranthemum

by krombhol/ (Paul Krombholz)
Date: Sat, 23 Sep 2000

Micranthemum umbrosum is a much fussier plant than many other aquarium
plants.  If it does not have a good supply of nutrients, CO2, and light,
the older parts tend to rot, freeing up the younger parts to float up to
the surface. It really prefers to grow emersed.  When grown submersed with
other plants, it starts this "rotting" process when the other plants still
look healthy.  You can get Micranthemum to look good and spread prettily
across the bottom, but its room, nutrient, CO2, and light requirements are
higher than those of many other plants.  It grows emerse in ditches around
here, and I think that it is not as well adapted to submersed growth as,
say, Hemianthus micranthemum.

Paul Krombholz, in cool, dry, central Mississippi.  

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