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Thalia dealbata (Powdery alligator-flag) | NPIN

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Thalia dealbata (Powdery alligator-flag)
Marcus, Joseph A.

Thalia dealbata

Powdery alligator-flag, Powdery thalia, Water canna

Marantaceae (Arrowroot Family)


USDA Native Status:

Powdery alligator-flag is a robust, tropical, aquatic perennial, 3-6 ft. tall. The large, broadly lance-shaped, long-petioled leaves are covered with a white powdery coating as are all parts of the plant. The blue and purple flowers are crowded in an open panicle.


Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Size Class: 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Purple
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct


USA: AL , AR , GA , IL , KY , LA , MO , MS , OK , SC , TX
Native Distribution: Locally on Coastal Plain from SC to TX & n. into OK, extreme s.e. MO & s. IL
Native Habitat: Cypress swamps; marshes; ponds

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet
Aquatic: yes
Soil Description: Shallow water or poorly drained, wet soils. Mud, Saline tolerant
Conditions Comments: A dramatic, tropical looking plant with broad grey-green leaves. Small purple flowers bloom on tall flower stalks above the leaves. Good for wetland gardens and habitats. May be propagated easily by divisions. Larval food plant for the Brazilian Skipper butterfly.


Use Ornamental: Water garden, Bog or pond area
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Attracts: Butterflies
Deer Resistant: Minimal

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX


Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Recommended Species Lists

Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.

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Additional resources

USDA: Find Thalia dealbata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Thalia dealbata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Thalia dealbata


Record Modified: 2013-09-12
Research By: LAL

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