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Hardiness: Difficult
Light Needs: High
Plant Structure: Stem
Family: Onagraceae
Genus: Ludwigia
Region: Central/South America
Location: Brazil
Size: Individual stem width: 5-10cm (2-4in)
Growth Rate: Fast
Can Be Grown Emersed: Yes


Ludwigia inclinata var. verticillata 'Pantanal' (formerly Ludwigia sp. 'Pantanal') is one of many new needle-leaved variations of Ludwigia inclinata. This particular variety comes from the massive Pantanal wetland in remote southwestern Brazil. Although sporting green, ovate leaves in the emersed state, L. inclinata var. verticillata 'Pantanal' sports beautiful, intense pink to red leaves when submersed. Since it is new to the hobby, this Ludwigia species is uncommon in the U.S. trade (although significantly more common in East Asia). However, due to its beauty, it is quickly gaining in popularity. Currently, only the Oriental Aquariums nursery commercially produces this plant.

L. inclinata var. verticillata 'Pantanal' makes several demands on the hobbyist which must be met if it is to thrive. It requires intensive lighting (at least 3 wpg) and consistently high CO2 levels (25-30 ppm). Nitrate and phosphate should be dosed regularly so that they consistently remain at the generally recommended levels (5-15 ppm and 1-2 ppm respectively). This plant will stunt if it is not getting enough nitrate. Iron and micronutrients should also be added frequently to promote good health and coloration. When it is not receiving enough iron, this plant produces smaller, paler growth. When the deficiency is extreme, new growth is white. Like many of the new Syngonanthus spp. and Eriocaulon spp. , L. inclinata var. verticillata 'Pantanal' seems to do best in soft water (6 dGH or less) and an acidic, peat-based substrate (such as ADA's Aquasoils and Florabase).

This colorful stem plant, unlike its close cousin L. inclinata var. verticillata 'Cuba', grows upright even under intense lighting. Also, L. inclinata var. verticillata 'Pantanal' is not nearly as fast growing, nearly as robust, or nearly as invasive as its larger cousin L. inclinata var. verticillata 'Cuba'. Regardless, when conditions are good, this plant grows relatively quickly and will require frequent pruning. Topping and replanting is recommended over cutting it over the top like a hedge.

Although not often used in Takashi Amano's or Dutch style designs, this Ludwigia is frequently used as a red color accent or focal point in aquariums dominated by Syngonanthus spp., stemming from the fact that both make similar demands on the hobbyist. If you have relatively soft tap water, do not be deterred from growing this beautiful red plant in your aquarium.

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

Photo #2 Submersed: US and International Copyright 2004 by Superctw All Rights Reserved.

Photo #3 Flower: US and International Copyright 2004 by Gianmarco Bertuccini All Rights Reserved.

Photo #4 Submersed: US and International Copyright 2008 by mrkookm All Rights Reserved.