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Luronium natans (floating water-plantain)

Floating water-plantain is an unusual aquatic plant, rare in the UK, with a differing leaf structure depending on the depth of water in which it grows, and showy white flowers.
Luronium natans flower

Luronium natans (Photo: Annette Hoeggemeier)

Species information

Common name: 

floating water-plantain

Conservation status: 

Least concern.

Habitat: 

Found mainly in lakes and canals with a fairly acid pH level.

Key Uses: 

Ornamental.

Known hazards: 

None.

Taxonomy

Subclass: 
Superorder: 
Lilianae
Order: 
Alismatales
Family: 
Alismataceae
Genus: Luronium

About this species

Floating water-plantain is found in two different forms. In shallow water, it develops floating oval leaves, while in deep water it can have long narrow, strap-shaped leaves.

When not flowering, its variable leaf-shape makes it easily confused with other related plants such as Alisma plantago-aquatica (water-plantain) or Echinodorus ranunculoides (lesser water plantain). Luronium natans has even been confused with the common terrestial species Plantago major (greater plantain) as it occasionally grows in damp grassland.

It is one of the most protected species in the UK, ensuring Special Area for Conservation status for any locality in which it occurs. Nevertheless it does seem to be gradually increasing its distribution in the UK.

Genus: 
Luronium

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