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Alisma subcordatum Raf.
American water plantain
Synonym(s): Alisma plantago-aquatica ssp. subcordatum, Alisma plantago-aquatica var. parviflorum
USDA Symbol: ALSU
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
A tall, spindly, many-branched aquatic with small white (rarely pink) flowers in whorls. In this typical emergent aquatic, the lower part is often submerged, while the upper part is exposed. Leaves formed underwater are ribbon-like and soon rot; they are seldom seen on adult plants. The bulb-like base of several species of Alisma was dried and eaten by Native Americans.
Members of the Water-Plantain Family grow in water, in swamps, on muddy banks, or occasionally in wet sand. Each plant has long-petioled leaves in a clump with a flowering stem rising among them. The flowers have 3 green sepals, 3 white or pink-tinged petals, 6 or more stamens, and several pistils. Stamens and pistils may be in separate flowers.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf:
Green Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct
, WV Canada: NB
, QC Native Distribution:
Manitoba east to New Brunswick, south to Georgia, west to Texas, and north to North Dakota; also in New Mexico, Arizona, California, and Oregon. Native Habitat:
Shallow, freshwater marshes, sluggish streams, ponds, and lakes.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
BenefitUse Food: Submerged root-like structure is edible; it was dried and eaten by First Nations People. (Niering)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Suppliers Directory
According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
American Native Nursery
- Quakertown, PA
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Native Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
Record Last Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff