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marshwort | nymphoides

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Posted by EDITOR 31 Jan 2011 - 3:27:00 PM

So much water around now – finally – it’s hard to see a sunny side. Still, maybe reflections on aquatic plants can work as a dream of tamer water bodies than those dominating the news recently. No doubt the place of the pond or water feature won’t quickly evaporate as part of our vision of a domestic paradise.
Water lilies are often at the top of a wish list for ponds when the depth starts to increase to 20-40cm, beyond the shallower zone of marginal plants. Many colours and sizes have been bred to cater for this romantic taste.
Marshwort might not sound like the most appealing of alternative, but the several Australian species of Nymphoides to which that common name is applied do have floating heart or kidney-shaped leaves much like a water lily and pretty, fringed flowers to recommend them.
The wavy marshwort (Nymphoides crenata) comes in different forms over its wide natural range but typically has leaf edges that are scalloped. ‘Purple Mosaic’ (right) is a version with its leaves also patterned with red-purple. Nymphoides geminata (left) doesn’t have as much leaf character but tolerates colder conditions. The white water snowflake (Nymphoides indica) comes in white rather than the yellow flowers of the others but prefers warmer, frost-free climates.
They’re all built on a smaller scale to most water lilies and can be planted in tubs and water bowls. And under conditions where there’s a chance that the water and plants could escape into the environment, they have the natural advantage of already being native.

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