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Hardiness: Easy
Light Needs: Medium
Plant Structure: Rosette
Family: Alismataceae
Genus: Echinodorus
Region: Central/South America
Location: Parts of Brazil, Uruguay, Chile and Argentina
Size: Height: 30-60cm+ (12-24in+)
Growth Rate: Medium
Can Be Grown Emersed: Yes


The extremely polymorphous (variable) Echinodorus uruguayensis is a species that has been cultivated in aquaria for many years under many erroneous names, most notably E. horemanii 'red', 'green', 'black', or 'black-red' and E. africanus. It is typically available through both retail stores that stock more than a rudimentary assortment of aquatic plants and through internet retailers. The species is native to South America, where it can be found growing in acidic, cool, rapidly flowing rivers. In its native habitat, E. uruguayensis does not typically grow in an emersed state.

Medium light and a nutritious substrate are the fundamentals needed to induce rapid, robust growth in this beautiful rosette plant. Weakly acid water and CO2 injection also promote vigorous growth, as well as slightly lower temperaturesóbetween 18-24C (64-75F). The hardness of the water seems to be of little importance to this species, though in the red and blackish forms, micronutrient (specifically iron) fertilization is required to maintain pleasing color. Emersed culture is possible but difficult, and the plant in both emersed and submersed states can be encouraged to flower by gradually shortening the photoperiod. E. uruguayensis, in contrast to other larger Echinodorus species, does not form floating leaves.

Adventitious plants on both the rhizome and on submersed inflorescences are the primary means of propagation in E. uruguayensis. The removal of these with a razor blade and the subsequent replanting of them will produce strong plants (if conditions are agreeable) within a few months.

Though many of the growth forms of E. uruguayensis often get too large for average aquaria, tanks of 75 U.S. gallons or more may house this magnificent plant successfully. It is best as a solitary and/or centerpiece specimen to which reddish or bushy plants may be contrasted well.

Photo #1: US and International Copyright 2004 by gnatster All Rights Reserved.