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

Life form information

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

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%)


Distribution information

JNCC Designations


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.