Common water-plantain (Alisma plantago-aquatica)

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Common water-plantain
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Common water-plantain fact file

Common water-plantain description

KingdomPlantae
PhylumTracheophyta
ClassLiliopsida
OrderAlismatales
FamilyAlismataceae
GenusAlisma (1)

Common water-plantain is a stout aquatic herb with oval-shaped leaves, which may be rounded or heart-shaped at the base (4). The pale lilac flowers are borne on a greatly branching inflorescence, and open between 1pm and 7pm each day (2). The curvature of the ribs on the leaves of water plantain was one of the inspirational natural features used by John Ruskin in the development of his theories on gothic architecture; he claimed that they were models of 'divine proportion' (5).

French
Alisma Plantain d'Eau.
Spanish
Llantén de Agua.
Size
Height: 20-100 cm (2)
Leaf blade length: 8-20 cm (2)
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Common water-plantain biology

Common water-plantain flowers from June to August (4). It fruits prolifically, and readily colonises recently cleared ditches and flooded mineral workings (3).

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Common water-plantain range

Widespread throughout much of Britain, but rarer in the north of Scotland, Shetland, the Outer Hebrides and Orkney. Elsewhere, it is found in temperate Europe (2), and has become widely naturalised outside of its natural range (3).

You can view distribution information for this species at the National Biodiversity Network Gateway.
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Common water-plantain habitat

This species is usually found growing at the edge of still or slow-flowing water, as well as in swamps and marshes (3).

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Common water-plantain status

Common water-plantain is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern

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Common water-plantain threats

This species is not threatened.

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Common water-plantain conservation

Conservation action is not needed.

There may be further information about this species available via the National Biodiversity Network Gateway.
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Find out more

For more information on British plants and their conservation see Plantlife- the wild plant conservation charity:
http://www.plantlife.org.uk/
Visit the website of the Botanical Society of the British Isles at:
http://www.bsbi.org.uk

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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

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Glossary

Inflorescence
The reproductive shoot of the plant, which bears flowers (see http://www.rbgkew.org.uk/ksheets/pdfs/flower.pdf for a fact sheet on flower structure)
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (June, 2011)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org/
  2. Clapham, A.R., Tutin, T.G. & Moore, D.M. (1987) Flora of the British Isles. 3rd Edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  3. Preston, C.D., Pearman, D.A. & Dines, T.D. (2002) The New Atlas of the British and Irish Flora. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  4. Press, B. & Gibbons, B (1993) Photographic field guide to wild flowers of Britain and Europe. New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd, London.
  5. Mabey, R. (1996) Flora Britannica. Sinclair-Stevenson, London.
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Image credit

Common water-plantain  
Common water-plantain

© Tom Cope / Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Richmond
Surrey
TW9 3AB
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 208 332 5000
Fax: +44 (0) 208 332 5197
info@kew.org
http://www.rbgkew.org.uk

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