Seeds of South Australia
Alisma plantago-aquatica (Alismataceae)
Common Water Plantain
List of species for Alisma
Click on an image to enlarge it
Seed collecting:
January to April
Herbarium regions:
Southern Lofty, South Eastern
NRM regions:
Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, South East
IBRA region
Mount Lofty Ranges (FLB01)Flinders Lofty Block
 Rare   (IUCN: RA d(ii))   [small outlier pop; looks like a weed]
RSCA map:
Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion. Please click the thumbnail map.
AVH map:
Australian distribution map (external link)
SA Census:
Census of South Australian plants (external link)     [genus Alisma]
Name derivation:
Alisma is the ancient Greek physician Dioscorides’ name for a plantain-leaved plant. Plantago from the Latin 'planta' meaning sole of a foot; referring to the flat leaves that are similar to leaves of the genus Plantago. Aquatica from the Latin 'aquaticus' meaning living in water; referring to the plant’s habitat.
Found in the southern Mount Lofty Ranges and the lower South-east in South Australia, growing in shallow water or fertile mud of pond margins, ditches, slow-flowing rivers, streams and marshes. It is considered naturalised in the northern Mount Lofty Ranges. Also found in New South Wales and Victoria. Introduced to Tasmania. Also widespread in Europe, western Asia, northern and central Africa and has been introduced and become naturalised in parts of North and South America, Australia and New Zealand.
Native. Rare in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Plant description:
An aquatic or semi-aquatic perennial to 1 m high, with a clumped habit. Leaves ovate to oblong-elliptic or narrowly oblong-elliptic, to 28 cm long and 10 cm wide, base rounded to cordate, apex obtuse to acute. Inflorescence a tall open panicles of white flowers, sometimes with a pink or pale lilac tinge, petals and sepals are in threes. Flowering stems emerge from the centre of the leaf bases with the flowers unfurl in the afternoon for only a few hours, before closing again at dusk. Flowering between October and February.
Fruit type:
Brown cluster of numerous achenes to 7 mm wide, which are buoyant.
Seed type:
Yellow reniform seed to 1.2 mm long and 0.6 mm wide.
Embryo type:
Seed collecting:
Collect fruits when the segments are about to fall apart, usually when colour changes to pale brown.
Seed cleaning:
Place the fruits in a tray and leave to dry for a week. Then rub the fruit gently by hand to dislodge the seeds. Use a sieve to separate the unwanted material. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place.
Germination table:
DateResultT0T50Pre-treatment | Germination medium | Incubator: Photoperiod / Thermoperiod
Jul-160%NANA leached in water 24 h;
1% agar;
Incubated under spring/autumn conditions
Jul-160%NANA leached in water 24 h;
1% agar;
Incubated under winter conditions
Result: Maximum percentage of germination observed.
T0: Number of days before first germinant observed.
T50: Number of days to achieve 50% germination.
Pre-treatment: The initial treatment that the seeds received prior to placement on germination media.
Germination medium: The substrate that seeds were placed on for the duration of the germination experiment.
Incubator conditions:
Photoperiod: The duration of light exposure that the seeds were subject to during a 24 hour period.
Thermoperiod: The constant or diurnal temperatures that seeds were subject to during a 24 hour period.
Winter conditions: 15°C 20 h (3am→11pm); 5°C 4 h (11pm→3am) / 10 h light (8am→6pm); 14 h dark (6pm→8am)
Spring/Autumn conditions: 22°C 12 h (8am→8pm); 10°C 12 h (8pm→8am) / 12 h light (8am→8pm); 12 h dark (8pm→8am)
Summer conditions: 30°C 14 h (6am→8pm); 15°C 10 h (8pm→6am) / 14 h light (6am→8pm); 10 h dark (8pm→6am)