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USA Native Plants


  1. native plants
    by Elizabeth Worobel <eworobe-at-cc.UManitoba.CA> (Thu, 26 Sep 1996)
  2. Native Plants? Java Fern, Anubias article & big tanks
    by (Karen A Randall) (Thu, 26 Sep 1996)
  3. re: Native Plants
    by Doug Valverde <75051.160-at-CompuServe.COM> (27 Sep 96)
  4. Native Plants?
    by krombhol-at-felix.TECLink.Net (Paul Krombholz) (Fri, 27 Sep 1996)
  5. Duckweed, Native Plants
    by Bruce Hansen <> (Sat, 28 Sep 1996)
  6. RE: Texas native plants
    by Mark Fisher <Mark.Fisher/> (Tue, 16 Mar 1999)
  7. Pa Native Plants?
    by Cavan <millsman7/> (Fri, 9 Jun 2000)
  8. Aquatic Plants Digest V4 #336
    by krombhol/ (Paul Krombholz) (Sat, 10 Jun 2000)
  9. adventures in the creek
    by Lazarus Miskowski <lazmiskowski/> (Tue, 11 Dec 2001)

native plants

by Elizabeth Worobel <eworobe-at-cc.UManitoba.CA>
Date: Thu, 26 Sep 1996

A large part of the work I get has to do with collecting and identifying 
native, north temperate aquatic plants. They would, by and large, make 
excellent aquarium plants. The best way to collect them is to wait for 
dormancy in the fall and collect the overwintering structures. In many 
cases these would be tubers found underground, often they are 
mucilagenous turions (telescoped stems), and in rare cases even seeds. 
All of these structures are easy to clean. One of the more interesting 
species IMHO is Isoetes, or quillwort. This is a fern which produces 
spores at the base of each leaf. When the leaf dies, the spores are 
released and readily form baby plants if both mega and mirco spores are 
present. This plant may be a challenge, however, as it uses its roots to 
get CO2 and must therefore be grown in a fairly fertile substrate.

Of course, if you are in karens neck of the woods, you could always drop 
in at the New England Aquarium and see the display tanks of native plants 
that she helped set up (I have yet to win the lottery so, though eager, 
have not seen them myself).


Native Plants? Java Fern, Anubias article & big tanks

by (Karen A Randall)
Date: Thu, 26 Sep 1996

Subject: Native Plants?

> Hi.  A week ago I was in Houston with my fiancee & we were hikin
> the local wetlands of Brazos Bend State Park.  I saw what appear
> huge specimens of emersed Echinodorus cordifolius growing on the
> was wondering if this is totally commonplace to you guys who liv
> more warmer regions of the US?  I must confess to be totally blo
> encounter something I'd only seen in tanks, poking out of the gr

Arie DeGraaf did a whole series on various Echinodorus collected 
in the S.E. U.S.A.  It was in TFH, perhaps 5 years ago.
> Another question: what about collecting wild specimens.  Anyone 
> list do this?  (Not from a State park, but otherwise...)  Is the
> problem introducing parasites or disease into a tank?

I've done it myself, Doug Valverde collected a bunch of stuff for 
me from Texas, and I got a bunch of stuff collected by the New 
England Aquarium in Florida, Georgia and Louisiana while we were 
working on the "Ponds" exhibit.

If your water conditions are compatible with the species 
collected, and you have sufficient light, many do just fine.  
Remember though, that wild plants often do not adapt as well to 
aquarium life as those that have been propagated specifically for 
the aquarium trade.  The growers have already weeded out the weak 
ones for us!

In my experience, algae as extremelt specific grow conditions. 
(moreso than many higher plants) the ones we have trouble with in 
our aquariums are those that thrive under those exact conditions. 
 I've found that most wild collected algae dies off the plants 
very quickly in the aquarium. 

I do _carefully_ inspect plants for large carnivorous insects such 
as Dragonfly nymphs.  I find that most of the smaller insects and 
crustaceans make great fish food.  I don't worry much about 
snails, because the copper in my water kills them off, but I do 
remove all the snails (and eggs) that I see.  If I had different 
water, this would probably be one of my biggest concerns.

As far as disease is concerned, I'm sure there's always the chance 
of bringing something in, but it's never happened to me.  I would 
not put first generation wild plants in a tank with any 
particularly valuable or hard to replace fish, however, just on 
the off chance that I _did_ import something nasty.

Finally, as you mentioned, do not collect _anywhere_ without 
permission.  Here in Massachusetts, the people at Fish and 
Wildlife told me that As long as I didn't collect in State or 
National Parks, and as long as it was for private (i.e. 
non-commercial) purposes that it was fine.  They did stress 
_responsible_ collecting. (take a few plants from large stands... 
never remove a large percentage of a particular species from a 
specific area)  They also sent me a list of endangered and 
threatened plants that were protected, and could not be collected 
for that reason.

re: Native Plants

by Doug Valverde <75051.160-at-CompuServe.COM>
Date: 27 Sep 96


Karen, as usual, beat me to it.  I've collected native plants and have found
some very nice plants.  Snails are common, also noticed small grub like worms 
roots.  Have not had any particular pathogen problems, but I do take care to
clean off the plants as best I can.  To be sure you could always dip the plants
in a mild bleach solution which should effectively take care of pathogens.

Currently I have only collected in Texas, but am now planning a trip to the
Florida Everglades with the Seminoles to collect down there.  (Karen, want
anything?)  Louisana swamps are also high on my list.  I've wondered through
there and seen nice plants but have never been in a position to collect

You of course need to be careful of private property and local laws.  I always
check with the Parks and Wildlife people and assure them I will not take a 
of plants from any one place and leave a bare space.  Having done this I have
even been allowed to collect plants from place carefully marked as protected
areas, with a Parks and Wildlife officer standing behind me talking to me.  In
other areas, San Marco Texas comes to mind, they actually mow the plants down
periodically to keep them from interferring with water flow, if you can time it
right they are delighted to help you.


Native Plants?

by krombhol-at-felix.TECLink.Net (Paul Krombholz)
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 1996

Here, in Mississippi, we have E. cordifolius and E. barteroi.  Some species
of Ludwigia grows in all the ditches and even in my yard.  Hydrocotyle
verticillata is also in my yard.  I have also seen a couple of Najas
species, and Didiplis diandra is supposed to be around somewhere, but I
havn't seen it.  This is not all.  East and southeast U.S. is a rich source
of aquarium plant species, including most of the Sagitterias.

I havn't tried to collect wild specimans yet, but if I did, I would give
them a two or three minute bath in 5% bleach to kill hair algae and then
grow them in a small jar or tank by themselves for a while to make sure
that no unwanted invertebrate nasties survived the bleach treatment.

Duckweed, Native Plants

by Bruce Hansen <>
Date: Sat, 28 Sep 1996

For years I have spent my vacations here in Australia wandering around the 
various swamps and waterways collecting native fishes and surveying aquatic 
habitats. In the past my attempts at bringing back native plants and 
keeping them at home produced very ordinary results. More recently I have 
tried a native low budget, modified hi-tech aquarium with better results. 
The addition of some substrate heating, yeast CO2 and timed stronger lights 
etc has made a major difference and it has added a whole new dimension to 
my enjoyment and satisfaction.

I have been amazed at the variety and beauty available but overlooked. I 
strongly recommend listmembers consider local plants as well and post us 
with their results.

Just a few practical hints from my own experience. Please don't collect in 
legally protected places, try to minimise the size of your collection and 
leave the donor site in good condition. Take notes on the local conditions 
such as temperature, soil type/substrate, water parameters, lighting, time 
of the year, other plants nearby, state of maturity of the plant ( e.g. 
 whether flowering, producing runners, size etc) and any other factor that 
may be helpful later on and away from the collection site. I find it best 
to take small to moderate sized specimens as intact as possible and wash 
off all soil and place in a labelled clear plastic take-away food container 
( those ones with the clip-on lids) which is then stacked in a styrofoam 
fish box in the shade as I have lost many a plant from overheating and 
dessication. Putting each plant type in it's own container prevents damage 
to others from allelopathy or rot and makes later handling minimal before 

An alternative is to wrap each in slightly damp newspaper and then place in 
a plastic bag of air ( for cushioning) and rubber-banding. IMO crushing and 
consequent injury is another major cause of failure.

I have, on occasion even taken home buckets of substrate with good results 
as the microbial flora that has evolved in parallel is still available to 
"cushion" the translocation stresses.

Bruce Hansen


RE: Texas native plants

by Mark Fisher <Mark.Fisher/>
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999

> I am wondering you people could help me with the information on what
> kind of wild-growing aquatic plants you can find in Texas. 
> So far I have found riccia, ludvigia palustris (?), azolla, water
> hyacynth, echinodorus cordifolius, 2 other echinodorus 
> species (bartheri
> maybe?), sagittaria platyphylla (?), hornwort, and a couple of other
> plants the names for which I don't know... Are there any 
> other aquarium
> plants to collect in TX and if you found them, then where???  Also are
> there any good books to identify the american native water flora?? 

The definitive works for the SE US (and TX) are:

Godfrey, R.K., J.W. Wooten. 1981. Aquatic and Wetland Plants of
Southeastern United States. Dicotyledons. 933 pp.  University of Georgia

Press, Athens.Godfrey, R.K., J.W. Wooten. 1979. Aquatic and Wetland
Plants of
Southeastern United States. Monocotyledons. 712 pp. University of
Georgia Press, Athens. 

If you opt not to peruse all 1,645 pages of these tomes, then a partial
list of common aquarium plants native to TX would be: 
Sagittaria platyphylla
Sagittaria subulata
Vallisneria americana
Cabomba aquatica
Bacopa caroliniana
Ludwigia sp.
Ceratophyllum demersum
Fontinalis sp.
Echinodorus cordifolia
Echinodorus tenellus
Didiplis diandra
Eleocharis sp.
Isoetes sp.
Nymphoides aquatica
Hydrocotyle sp.
Lemna sp.

This is not a complete list, and I am sure I have omitted someone's
favorite plant.  The clear Hill Country streams and rivers (especially
the San Marcos river) are excellent locations for aquatic plant



Pa Native Plants?

by Cavan <millsman7/>
Date: Fri, 9 Jun 2000

Yesterday, a friend of mine and I took my black lab to
Racoon Creek State Park which is pretty close to
Pittsburgh.  I noticed Najas guadalupensis in
abundance.  I thought this stuff was only in the
southeren states.  I also found some Ludwigia repens
and, believe it or not, a medium sized Echinodorus
(looked like a blehri) growing by the waters edge.  I
was pretty surprised about the latter.  Either some of
these plants grow farther north than I thought, or
someone is releasing things.  

Is there a site or something that gives the ranges for
native plants?  Thanks guys, Cavan.

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Aquatic Plants Digest V4 #336

by krombhol/ (Paul Krombholz)
Date: Sat, 10 Jun 2000

>Date: Fri, 9 Jun 2000 16:11:16 -0700 (PDT)
>From: Cavan <>
>Subject: Pa Native Plants?
>Yesterday, a friend of mine and I took my black lab to
>Racoon Creek State Park which is pretty close to
>Pittsburgh.  I noticed Najas guadalupensis in
>abundance.  I thought this stuff was only in the
>southeren states.  I also found some Ludwigia repens
>and, believe it or not, a medium sized Echinodorus
>(looked like a blehri) growing by the waters edge.  I
>was pretty surprised about the latter.  Either some of
>these plants grow farther north than I thought, or
>someone is releasing things.
>Is there a site or something that gives the ranges for
>native plants?  Thanks guys, Cavan.
E. cordifolius is said to be in the southern U.S., and it might get as far
north as Pennsylvania. I have an old book, A manual of Aquatic Plants, by
Norman C. Fassett, published 1940, that says that the northern limits of E.
cordifolius are Illinois to Kansas, south to California and Florida.
Are you sure that the sword you saw isn't cordifolius?  That species is
common in the drainage ditches around Jackson, Mississippi where I live.
The ditches are sprayed once or twice a year with Roundup, but the E.
cordifolius always bounces back faster than anything else.  It is a tough
plant.  E. tenellus is also said to exist from Massachusetts to Minnesota,
south to Florida and Mexico.

 There are a lot of species of Najas in the U.S.  Fassett says N.
guadalubensis local in S. Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Quebec to S.
Michigan, S. Minnesota, and Oregon, southward to Peru, Bolivia, and
Argentina.  Najas flexilis, he just says is "common and widespread".  I
have seen flexilis in Lake Mendota, in Wisconsin, and in the Ross Barnett
Reservoir, in the Jackson, Mississippi area.

Ludwigia repens isn't listed in Fassett, but L. palustris is, and it is
given a range of Nova Scotia to Manitoba to Oregon, south to Florida, West
Indes, Mexico and California.  Fassett mentions several forms of palustris,
and one of them may now be what we call repens.  L. palustris is everywhere
in Mississippi, growing in any ditch or depression where puddles form after
a rain.  It adapts easily to aquarium life.

Paul Krombholz, central Mississippi, moisture is on the increase, and we
may get some rain over the next three or four days.  

adventures in the creek

by Lazarus Miskowski <lazmiskowski/>
Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2001

Because I am currently at my parent's place, I decided
to head for a creek I hadn't been to since I was eight
years old. I remembered that I had found some
petrified wood there.

My parents live on the other side of town now, so I
had to drive to this creek which is in the middle of

I parked near some apartments and then walked towards
the creek.  On my way, in a drainage ditch, I spotted
huge quantities of bacopa.

After climbing down the embankment, the first thing I
noticed was that I was trampling a small pasture of a
hydrocotoyle species.  Almost all of it was
emersed/terrestrial, but some of it was trailing into
the water.

Once in the creek I found several small pieces of
petrified wood.  I also found a soft black/grey rock
that is made of clay.  It is soft enough that when I
drop it, it breaks.  The coloration, however, is nice.
 I wonder if anyone on the list has any experience
with this kind of rock.

I gathered other species including ludwigia.  Some of
these are probably terrestrial plants, but I figure it
wouldn't hurt to throw them underwater and see what
happens, since I couldn't identify them.

At this point it was raining in 45 deg weather, so I
decided to head out.  It was a lot of fun, and I
suggest that heading for your local creek might be a
worthwhile endeavor.  Who knows, perhaps some species
may be added to the hobby in this way.


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