Crassula helmsii

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Swamp stonecrop
Crassula helmsii.jpg
Leaves and flowers of C. helmsii
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Saxifragales
Family: Crassulaceae
Genus: Crassula
C. helmsii
Binomial name
Crassula helmsii
  • Tillaea recurva
  • Tillaea helmsii
  • Crassula recurva

Crassula helmsii, known as swamp stonecrop or New Zealand pigmyweed,[1] is an aquatic or semiterrestrial species of succulent plant in the family Crassulaceae.[2] Originally found in Australia and New Zealand, it has been introduced around the world. In the United Kingdom, this plant is one of five introduced invasive aquatic plants which were banned from sale from April 2014. This is the first ban of its kind in the country.[3] It is on the Global Register of Introduced and Invasive Species of eleven countries.[4]


The shoots are rather stiff, carrying narrow parallel-sided leaves in opposite pairs, each leaf being about 4–24 millimetres (0.16–0.94 in). Small white flowers with four petals are produced in summer on long stalks arising from the upper leaf axils. The flowers are always above water.[citation needed]


This plant from New Zealand has recently been recorded in waste ground waste site in Ireland at Howth Head, County Dublin.[5]

Ecological aspects[edit]

The plant grows on the muddy margins of ponds where it forms carpets with 100% cover, or semi-submerged in deeper water, or totally submerged with elongated stems. It does not die back in winter.[6] It has been reported to be very tolerant to copper toxicity[7] and to be a hyperaccumulator of copper.[8]


C. helmsii is able to grow fully submerged in a cool water aquarium or as a submersed or marginal plant in a pond. Once established it can grow vigorously and may need to be trimmed back. Schedule 9 of the UK Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 lists this plant as one that must not be caused to grow in the wild.[citation needed]


  1. ^ BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  2. ^ "Crassula helmsii (aquatic plant, succulent)". Global Invasive Species Database. ISSG. April 15, 2010. Retrieved March 8, 2012.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Crassula helmsii A.Berger". Retrieved 2020-04-04.
  5. ^ Dhuill,E.Ni 2021 Invasive non-native and alien garden escape plant species on the southern cliffs of Howth Head, Co. Dublin (H21) Irish Naturalists' Journal 37(2)102 - 108
  6. ^ Crassula helmsii :: Invasive Aliens in Northern Ireland
  7. ^ Küpper, Hendrik; Küpper, Frithjof; Spiller, Martin (1996). "Environmental relevance of heavy metal-substituted chlorophylls using the example of water plants". Journal of Experimental Botany. 47 (2): 259–266. doi:10.1093/jxb/47.2.259. ISSN 0022-0957.
  8. ^ Küpper, Hendrik; Götz, Birgit; Mijovilovich, Ana; Küpper, Frithjof C.; Meyer-Klaucke, Wolfram (2009-10-01). "Complexation and Toxicity of Copper in Higher Plants. I. Characterization of Copper Accumulation, Speciation, and Toxicity in Crassula helmsii as a New Copper Accumulator". Plant Physiology. 151 (2): 702–714. doi:10.1104/pp.109.139717. ISSN 0032-0889. PMC 2754650. PMID 19641032.

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