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MICRANTHEMUM UMBROSUM

Hardiness: Moderate
Light Needs: Medium
Plant Structure: Stem
Family: Linderniaceae
Genus: Micranthemum
Region: North America
Location: United States
Size: Stem width: 1-2cm (0.5-1in)
Growth Rate: Fast
Can Be Grown Emersed: Yes

Description:

Micranthemum umbrosum is originally from the USA and can be found in most of the southeastern states from Texas to Florida to Virginia in small ponds, ditches, and streams. In its natural habitat, it frequently grows emersed in the summer and submersed in the winter. While it has been in the hobby for quite some time, it has only recently become more popular, as aquariums providing the conditions it requires have become commonplace.

While occasionally tricky to acclimate, M. umbrosum is not particularly demanding apart from its appetite for light. A relatively intense level is required to grow it well, with two watts per gallon being the minimum recommended. If exposed to inadequate lighting conditions, the plant's lower leaves will quickly drop off or develop holes. At the same time, the stem will become brittle and fracture, causing small pieces to float up to the surface where the light is more intense. This plant can be grown without CO2, although the growth rate will be greatly slowed and the leaves will be smaller.

Once M. umbrosum's basic requirements are met, it becomes an extremely easy plant to propagate. Simply cutting the plant at any point along a main stem and planting it in the substrate will shortly result in new roots and a separate plant. M. umbrosum tends to produce new stems at a fairly high rate. New stems form at the base of leaves a few inches away from the growing tip and can be promoted to form by pinching off the growing tip itself. Fairly dense patches of M. umbrosum can be produced by encouraging new stems to sprout in this way. Emersed propagation can be achieved, but high humidity and a wet substrate are required; if those conditions are met, it can be quite vigorous.

M. umbrosum is normally used in an aquascape toward the middle or back of the aquarium. With extremely high light, it may be coaxed into growing prostrate in the foreground.

Photo #1: US and International Copyright 2004 by SuperCTW (aqugrass) All Rights Reserved.

Photo #2: US and International Copyright 2004 by cS All Rights Reserved.

Photo #3: US and International Copyright 2004 by defdac All Rights Reserved.