Water Weeds

Kidney Leaf / Mud Plantain

Heteranthera reniformis

An opportunistic coloniser of open, shallow wetlands, ditches and creek banks

  • FamilyPontederiaceae
  • OriginNorth, Central and South America
  • Habitperennial annual submerged or floating in shallow water (less than 15 cm deep), will grow to 50 cm tall and rapidly form dense mats in tropical and subtropical areas when not shaded by other plants
  • LeavesLeaf blades arranged alternately along stems, 5 cm × 3 cm long, glabrous, obtuse or rounded at apex and bilobate at the base. Leaves are sessile, forming basal rosettes. The petiolate leaves can be floating or immersed.
  • FlowersWhite to pale blue flowers 2–10 per raceme , open about three hours after sunrise and wilt by early afternoon
  • FruitA capsule with 8–14 small winged seeds; long lasting
  • RootsRoots stems produce roots at each node
  • DispersalBroken fragments of stems, with one or more nodes intact can infest downstream areas; floods can disperse stem fragments over a considerable distance. Winged seeds likely to be dispersed by wind and water.
  • ControlBiosecurity Queensland reports effective control of common Heteranthera species within flooded rice in Italy using cinosulfuron (sulfonylurea), even in very low amounts (Sparacino et al. 1996)

Adapts quickly to favourable situations such as recently inundated areas and areas where competition has been destroyed (including with herbicide use against other species). Hence in ponds and sinkholes, wet crop areas, ditches, powerline corridors. Long lasting soil seed banks give rise to seemingly spontaneous infestations.

Kidney-Leaf Mud Plantain

Latin Name
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