Alisma plantago-aquatica (Water-plantain)


Summary Information


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.


Photos Information


Habitats Information

Broad Habitats

Fen, marsh and swamp (not wooded)
Standing water and canals

Light (Ellenberg): 7 Information

Moisture (Ellenberg): 10 Information

Reaction (Ellenberg): 7 Information

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 7 Information

Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0 Information

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.8 Information

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 15.2 Information

Annual Precipitation (mm): 950 Information

Life Form

Life Form Information

Height (cm): 100

Length: 50

Perennation - primary


Perennation - secondary

Life Form - primary

Perennial hydrophyte (perennial water plant)

Life Form - secondary

Comment on Life Form

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



Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Clonality - secondary


Distribution Information

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%)


Conservation Status

Conservation Status Information

Plantatt Conservation Status

Other Accounts

Other Accounts Information


References Information

PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections.
A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

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.