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Hardiness: Easy
Light Needs: Medium
Plant Structure: Stem
Family: Plantaganaceae
Genus: Limnophila
Region: Asia
Location: Southeast Asia
Size: Individual stem width: 4-7cm (1.5-3in)
Growth Rate: Very fast
Can Be Grown Emersed: Yes


Limnophila sessiliflora is an undemanding plant from southeast Asia that is often sold as "Asian Marshweed" or Ambulia. In its natural habitat, it would be found along the shores of stagnant or flowing bodies of water. L. sessiliflora is the most common and readily available of the Limnophilas and is available through most of the major aquatic nurseries.

Limnophila sessiliflora is a hardy and adaptable plant, capable of withstanding a wide range of conditions (pH 5.5-8 and temps of 22-28C). Resembeling Cabomba, but with lower lighting demands, L. sessiliflora is a suitable and less demanding addition to many aquariums. Lower lighting (around 2 watts per gallon) and CO2 addition will produce more attractive and compact growth. Its main nutritional needs are good amounts of traces, especially iron supplementation, to keep this plant in good health. Higher lighting and lots of micronutrient supplementation cause this plant to develop reddish hues on the top.

The pruning of L. sessiliflora is similar to many other stem plants. Topping and replanting is the best method. Letting it reach the surface allows it to produce many side shoots where it will readily produce emergent growth. This plant grows like the weed it is, however, so frequent pruning will be necessary (especially in high light aquariums). The development of flowers is rare, but the single blue, violet, pink or lavender flowers are produced on the emergent part of the stem.

The propensity of L. sessiliflora for fast growth and infinite height makes its potential in aquascaping limited to background plantings. Lower light levels tend to produce more compact and slower growth, thus making it more manageable. The fine, needle-like leaves of L. sessiliflora make it an interesting and worthwhile addition to the planted aquarium. One bit of information worth mentioning about Limnophila sessiliflora is that it has been listed as a federal noxious weed in the U.S., thus making it dangerous to natural habitats. Its use, therefore, should be well-guarded in that it does not find its way into its non-native waterways.

Photo #1: US and International Copyright 2004 by Tula Top All Rights Reserved.

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