Alisma plantago-aquatica

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaAlismataceaeAlismaAlisma plantago-aquatica


A perennial herb growing on exposed mud at the shallow edge of still or slow-flowing waters, or in marshes and swamps. It is confined to mesotrophic or eutrophic habitats. Plants fruit prolifically, and the species is a frequent colonist of newly cleaned ditches and recently flooded mineral workings. Generally lowland, but reaching 405 m at Dock Tarn (Cumberland).



World Distribution

Circumpolar Wide-temperate element; widely naturalised outside its native range.

© G. Toone, IWNHAS

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 7

Moisture (Ellenberg): 10

Reaction (Ellenberg): 7

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 7

Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.8

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 15.2

Annual Precipitation (mm): 950

Height (cm): 100

Length: 50

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary

Perennial hydrophyte (perennial water plant)

Comment on Life Form

"although a water plant, basic behaviour is as a rosette hemicryptophyte"



Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 1761

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 624

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 8

Atlas Change Index: -0.19

Weighted Changed Factor: -6

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


JNCC Designations


Atlas text references

Atlas (301b)
Grime JP, Hodgson JG, Hunt R
1988.  Comparative Plant Ecology.
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Meusel H, Jäger E, Weinert E
1965.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 1. 2 vols.
Preston CD, Croft JM
1997.  Aquatic plants in Britain and Ireland.