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CARDAMINE LYRATA

Hardiness: Easy
Light Needs: Medium
Plant Structure: Stem
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Cardamine
Region: Asia
Location: Japan
Size: Individual stem width: 2-4cm (0.5-1.5in)
Growth Rate: Fast
Can Be Grown Emersed: Yes

Description:

Cardamine lyrata is a swamp plant found in the subtropics of Japan. C. lyrata does well in tropical aquaria and, as such, is a popular, common aquarium plant in the hobby.

C. lyrata is an undemanding, fast-growing stem plant with trailing stems that bear lightly colored, kidney-shaped leaves. It requires little more than ample lighting (at least 2 watts per gallon). Under low lighting conditions, it will often produce thin stems and very small foliage. It will grow without CO2 injection, although the addition of CO2 will promote faster, more robust growth. Leaf size can be controlled by varying the temperature. Cooler water (less than 70F) will produce the largest leaves, while warmer water (more than 80F) will result in very small leaves.

C. lyrata grows through nearby plantings almost like an aquatic, trailing vine. Roots which grow at each internode are usually concealed by dense growth. It is very easy to propagate; simply prune any stems that are growing where they are not supposed to and replant them in another location. The cuttings will quickly take root and continue to grow.

C. lyrata, because of its growth habit, is very useful for providing contrast and visual interest in Nature Aquarium style layouts. In such layouts, its trailing, vine-like growth gives a natural effect if allowed to grow on carpets of Riccia fluitans or over driftwood. It can also be used as a midground bush, where its lightly colored, attractive kidney-shaped foliage provides an excellent contrast to other plants in the aquarium. However, keeping it as a neat midground bush requires intensive pruning.

Photo #1: US and International Copyright 2004 by Ghazanfar Ghori All Rights Reserved