Light Needs: Low
Plant Structure: Stem
Region: South America
Location: Southern South America
Size: Stem width 6 inches
Growth Rate: Fast
Can Be Grown Emersed: Yes
Gymnocoronis spilanthoides is one of the relatively few members of the very large family Asteraceae to be kept as an aquarium plant. Native to the southern half of South America, it has since become established in warm regions elsewhere in the world, often to the detriment of native plants. In the aquarium trade, it has long been cultivated and is regularly sold, even in shops not specializing in aquatic plants.
Culture poses no difficulties. Even under modest lighting, growth is fast. Under stronger lighting, growth is accelerated and the leaves take on an attractive purplish hue. G. spilanthoides grows rather large for a stem plant, and, combined with its tolerance of higher temperatures, makes an ideal plant for aquariums housing discus (Symphysodon spp.). It is not especially prone to displaying nutrient deficiencies, but is, unfortunately, very attractive to pond snails (Physa spp.). During the summer, it can be grown outdoors, where it will produce attractive white capitate inflorescences.
In sufficiently roomy aquariums, attractive stands can be created in background areas. When trimmed, new shoots form quickly, and the grouping quickly rebounds.
Photo #1: Submersed US and International Copyright 2011 by Tim Gross All Rights Reserved