This plant has a stem reaching up to 80 cm in height. Its basal roots are buried in the underlying mud while other silvery, shiny roots dangle freely in the water. The leaves are deeply divided as far as the central vein, like the teeth of a double comb, and are completely submerged, but if there is a drastic fall in the water level they can surface. The leaves are alternate or connected to the stem in more of less regular whorls. Flowers from May to June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects, Cleistogomy (self-pollinating without flowers ever opening). The plant is self-fertile.
Naturally a bog / marsh plant and most plants sold have been grown emerse and need to be submerged in stages in the aquarium to encourage it to adapt and form submerse leaf forms. Can be kept in the cool or tropical aquarium. Give a good substrate, light and if possible additional CO2. Can be grown in or around the pond. Considered a good oxygenator for the pond and its bushy leaves provide protection for fish and fry. Can be grown floating as well. Sunny spot.
Use in alternative medicine
Hottonia palustris has been listed as one of the 38 plants used to prepare Bach flower remedies, a kind of alternative medicine promoted for its effect on health. However, according to Cancer Research UK, "there is no scientific evidence to prove that flower remedies can control, cure or prevent any type of disease, including cancer".
- Clapham, A.R., Tutin, T.G. and Warburg, E.F. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press 1962
- Bowler, P., 2002, Water Violet, British Wildlife, Volume 13, No 5: 325 (Colour photograph)
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