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Hardiness: Moderate
Light Needs: Medium
Plant Structure: Stem
Family: Plantaganaceae
Genus: Bacopa
Region: Africa
Location: Madagascar
Size: Stem width: 4-5 cm (1.5-2 in)
Growth Rate: Moderate
Can Be Grown Emersed: Yes


Suitable aquarium plants hailing from Madagascar are few in number, but still occasionally appear. One of the most recent arrivals to the North American hobby is Bacopa madagascariensis. It has been cultivated in Europe and Asia for some time, but has only recently been traded by hobbyists in the United States, the only way it may be currently obtained there.

Like the more familiar B. caroliniana, it grows nearly straight up and to approximately three inches in stem diameter. Unlike the former species, it displays a moderate growth speed and always stays green, qualities that may make its use desirable for aquascapers. Its distinctive thick, spongy stem and slightly pitted leaf surface further its uniqueness. For best effect, it may be planted in odd-numbered stands in the mid to background areas.

Although hardly the most difficult of plants, B. madagascariensis does impose a few demands on its keeper. Most importantly, it does not fare well with a low supply of macro nutrients. If those are not provided in adequate quantity, stunting and deformed leaves may result. This is especially true for emersed cultivated specimens, which may require targeted root feeding even though surrounding plants may be doing well with minimal fertilization. Strong lighting is likewise imperative for best growth. Without it, it may be overly slow to gain height and to grow side shoots; rotting of lower sections of the stem can then be a problem as well. Finally, this species is especially buoyant, so planting tops deeply is recommended.

Photo #1Submersed: US and International Copyright 2006 by Tim Gross. All Rights Reserved.

Photo #2Flower: US and International Copyright 2010 by Adam Martin. All Rights Reserved.