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Hardiness: Moderate
Light Needs: High
Plant Structure: Stem
Family: Lythraceae
Genus: Rotala
Region: Americas
Location: North and South America
Size: Stem width: 2.5 inches
Growth Rate: Medium
Can Be Grown Emersed: Yes


Rotala ramosior is one of three Rotala species inhabiting the United States and the only one that is native north of Mexico (R. indica and R. rotundifolia are introduced). It is found both emersed and submersed in wet habitats over much of North America as far north as southern Ontario, almost always in places with highly variable water levels. At present, it can only be obtained by collecting or through trade with the relatively small number of hobbyists who keep it.

R. ramosior is not difficult to grow provided its relatively high demands are met. In its natural habitat it is always found in full sun and that should definitely be kept in mind when choosing a place for it in the aquarium. Never allow it to be shaded! T5, power compact, or metal halide lighting is suggested. Apart from lots of carbon dioxide and iron, it does not require anything else out of the ordinary. The transition from emersed growth is unproblematic and from then on, growth and propagation through side shoots is relatively slow.

Although it does not display the bright colors of many other Rotalas, R. ramosior has an attractive form and subtle beauty that more than makes it worth keeping. An odd-numbered stand of a few stems look fantastic in the mid to back ground and make an effective contrast to red and fine-leaved plants.

Photo #1 Submersed: US and International Copyright 2004 by Cavan Allen All Rights Reserved.