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Hardiness: Moderate
Light Needs: Medium
Plant Structure: Stem
Family: Acanthaceae
Genus: Hygrophila
Region: Asia?
Location: Unknown
Size: stem width 4 inches
Growth Rate: Fast
Can Be Grown Emersed: Yes


Hygrophila sp. ‘Bold’ is a strikingly colored Hygrophila that appeared in the United States hobby in 2006. The species to which it belongs and its natural origin are at present uncertain, but it is likely a variant of H. polysperma. Many plants show variation based upon growing conditions, but ‘Bold’ is among the most variable of them all, with a plasticity that is just short of astonishing.

It is frequently confused with another recent introduction, Hygrophila sp. ‘Tiger’. Both may show a reticulated leaf pattern, but submersed ‘Bold’ grows mildly wavy leaves that are somewhat narrower and not as rounded at the tip as in ‘Tiger’. Under intense lighting and intense micro nutrient dosing, Hygrophila sp. ‘Bold’ may become a strong maroon to purplish color with relatively short internodes; a similar result may be achieved in mineralized soil tanks. In more typical conditions, leaves are browner and more noticeably reticulated, along with longer internodes. Even without co2 or high light, ‘Bold’ grows quite well and may be considered an alternative to H. polysperma, both because of its adaptability and growth habit.

Emersed growth poses no difficulties and again showcases its variability. Young emersed specimens often have numerous and obviously glandular hairs and are often maroon; older plants have considerably less pubescence and are usually green. Unlike many Hygrophilas, the inflorescence of this species is an attractive terminal spike, consisting mostly of densely packed bracts and flowers at the top of the stem. Hygrophila sp. ‘Bold’ can grow to eight inches leaf tip to leaf tip when out of water, so plan accordingly if emersed storage is desired.

Not sold commercially, Hygrophila sp. ‘Bold’ is commonly traded amongst hobbyists. Due to the confusion with ‘Tiger’, it is recommended that one verify the identity of plants to be bought.

Photo #1 Submersed - high light, high nutrients: US and International Copyright 2007 by Tim Gross. All Rights Reserved.

Photo #2 Typical submersed US and International Copyright 2009 by Dave Manthei. All Rights Reserved.