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Synonyms: Nesaea sp. 'red', Nesaea praetermissa
Hardiness: Very Difficult
Light Needs: Very High
Plant Structure: Stem
Family: Lythraceae
Genus: Ammannia
Region: Africa
Location: West Africa
Size: Stem width: 3-5cm (1-2in)
Growth Rate: Medium
Can Be Grown Emersed: Yes


Ammannia praetermissa is a small, marsh dwelling herb from West Africa where it can usually be found growing emersed. Long known as Nesaea sp. 'red' and described as Nesaea praetermissa by Kasselmann in 2012, it, along with all other Nesaea have been transferred to Ammannia. This striking red plant is not too popular in the trade, perhaps due to the extreme difficulty of long term success. However, it can be easily obtained through stores that regularly import plants from southeast Asia.

This Ammannia species is perhaps one of the most difficult to grow stem plants in the entire hobby. It requires intensive lighting (at least 3 watts per gallon and possibly much more) and consistent CO2 levels in the 25-30 ppm range. A disciplined, consistent fertilization regimen including nitrate, phosphate, and iron additions is also likely essential for long term success, though no instances such indoor culture are known. For anyone attempting cultivation, moderate nitrate levels and high phosphate levels are suggested. Iron and micronutrient fertilization should be added daily to every other day as per the needs of the aquarium. Substrate fertilization may be beneficial.

Although it is beautifully colored, this red stem plant can only be recommended to the hobbyist who is willing to put in the extra time and effort.

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

References and further reading: Graham, S.A., & Gandhi, K. (2013). Nomenclatural Changes Resulting from the Transfer of Nesaea and Hionanthera to Ammannia (Lythraceae). Harvard Papers in Botany, 18(1): 73-91.