by Robert Paul Hudson
Elatine triandra, is an interesting plant that has only been used in the hobby for the last few years. It will carpet the aquarium floor with star like clusters of leaves on short stems. Most people report the plant is unproblematic to grow with moderate light or better and in most cases with added CO2.
What I find interesting about the plant is that it’s native range is world wide. In Canada it is found in nearly the entire country as far north as the semi arctic region, and in the U.S. it is reported to be in MA, ME, MO, and NY according to the USDA.
Elatine triandra is also found in northern Europe, http://eunis.eea.europa.eu/species/169013/countries, China, (Guangdong, Heilongjiang, Jilin), Taiwan, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines; Australia, and Africa, http://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=140550
The plants being cultivated for sale in the hobby are thought to have originated from Asian native plants, but there does not appear to be any differences in appearance among the world wide localities of the specie. My guess is Elatine triandra originating from Canada and northern Europe would not adapt as easily to warm temperatures as those native to a more tropical environment, but I have no way of backing that up. Typically the plants grow in shallow water across “mud flats”. In Asia Elatine triandra is commonly found growing in rice paddies.
Elatine triandra availability
USA: It is not grown commercially in the USA. To my knowledge there is no legitimate business selling it in the USA in quantity. It would have to be imported into the USA from Asian plant farms. This is one of those plants that is often traded or sold between hobbyists on internet forums and being passed around that way.
Europe: It is not sold by nurseries in Germany, Holland, and elsewhere. Tropica Plants of Denmark does NOT sell Elatine triandra. I came across a company in Poland that may sell it online.
Asia: It is more commonly available in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and elsewhere in Asia.
Some internet forums report the plant is considered invasive in the USA. That is false. It is not banned in the USA. I have also read accounts that the plant is banned in the UK and I have not been able to confirm that. A couple of internet sites list the plant as being native to South America. I have been able to find confirmation of Elatine triandra being native to just about every where in the world except South America! I am still looking…
If you have the opportunity to get this plant you should give it a try. It grows pretty easily and is not at all fragile like many hard to find plants. In fact it is one of those plants you really wonder why it is not more widely available.
|Insert each stem into the substrate and space about an inch apart in rows or groups. A medium grit substrate is the most ideal. Within four to six weeks all the gaps between the stem should be filled in. From then on thin the bed out as needed to prevent over growth. Like other bedding plants in a confined space, (such as Glossostigma) the plant will grow on top of itself and taller eventually choking out the lower levels.|