limnophila, ambulia, Asian marshweed
pronounced: lim-no-fil-a se-si-li-flo-ra
limne (G.): marsh, swamp
phil (G.): loving
sessil (L.): without a stalk
flora (L.): flower
"marsh loving plant having flowers without stalks"
Limnophila sessiliflora is a freshwater amphibious
herb which has two distinctly different forms of leaves, submersed
and emersed. It may form dense stands from the bottom to the top of the water. Limnophila
sessiliflora and Limnophila indica, both non-native species present in the U.S.,
are frequently cultured as aquarium plants.
- herbaceous perennial
- strictly aquatic, "obligate" (requiring a wet habitat)
- in freshwaters, mostly submersed, partly emersed
- growing from bottom to surface in water to 12 feet deep
- forming dense stands of stems in the water
- reproduces asexually (regrows from plant fragments)
- each flower of Limnophila sessiliflora may set 200-300 seeds with a
rate as high as 96% (Spencer & Bowes 1985)
- will grow in a variety of aquatic habitats, including mountain streams in Africa
(Hemsley & Skan 1906), hot Florida rivers, and damp soils
- in 1979, this plant covered a total of 27 acres of Florida lakes and rivers (Tarver/DEP 1979);
in 1992, this plant covered a total of 24 acres of Florida lakes and rivers (Schardt/DEP 1992)
- temperature tolerance: minimum temperature 15o C (59o F);
optimum temperature, 20-26o C (68-79o F); maximum temperature,
28o C (83o F) (Kasselmann 1995)
- best light intensity for limnophila growth is around 215 micro-einsteins/meter squared/hour
(Cobb and Haller, 1981)
- is efficient photosynthesizer and has low light compensation point for long periods of
photosynthesis (Spencer & Bowes 1984), making it a competitive plant because it can start
growing in low light before other plants do
- in mid-80s Japan, limnophila was found in lakes having pH 6.2-7.4; alkalinity 0.18-.66
chlorophyll a 2.17-23.18 ug/l; transparency .9m-2.2m; and total P 8.0-227 ug/l (Kunii
- rooted in the hydro-soil
- stems grow to 12 feet, with several inches erectly emersed
- leaves in whorls along the stem
- leaves polymorphic, submersed and emersed; mostly to 1.5 in. (5-40 mm)
- emersed leaves dark green, more-or-less lance-shaped; in
whorls of 5-8 leaves about
the stem (also reported as 4-12, Gilbert 1984); margins appear to be torn irregularly
(crenate-serrate to variously lacerate)
- submersed leaves are finely divided and feathery, segments opposite;
ovate, elliptic to broadly lanceolate; in
whorls of 6-10 leaves (and more) about the stem
- flowering April through November (Japan, Kunii 1991), and July through
November (in north Florida and Texas, Correll & Correll 1975)
- flowers small, sessile (without stalks); solitary in leaf axils (angle where
leaf meets the stem) in the apical (uppermost) parts of the stems, above the water (aerial);
corolla (petals) 5-10 mm long, blue, violet, pink or lavender, upper lip white or pink with 2 blue
dots, 3-lobed, lobes ovate; calyx 4-7 mm long, hairy (pubescent); pedicels stout (not slender)
- rooting at stem nodes, with copious roots (Sculthorpe 1967)
- fruit are capsules, ellipsoid, 3.5-5.5 mm long, green-brown when
submersed, dark brown when emersed
- there are about 36 species of Limnophila in the world, including 13
- Limnophila sessiliflora is native to India, Ceylon and the Philippines
- is present in the Philippies (Pancho 1976)
- is present in Japan (Harada 1975; Kunii 1991), and was found in Japan as early as 1932
- is a major weed problem in paddy rice fields of India, China, Japan and the Philippines
Distribution in the U.S.:
- Limnophila sessiliflora was believed by Florida DNR in 1976 to have
been intentionally planted in the state (Tarver 1976);
- now is naturalized in several counties in Florida from south Florida to the panhandle;
- has been collected in upper San Marcos River, Hays County, Texas and in Landa Lake,
Comal County, Texas
The best way to track the spread of invasive aquatic plants may be to identify
the drainage basins (watersheds) they have been discovered in. Drainage maps give useful
information to eco-managers because drainage maps show precisely where the plants are, making
it easier for managers to infer where the plants might go next, and thus where to take preventive
How it got here:
What can you do?
First, clean your boat before you leave the ramp! Transporting
plant fragments on boats, trailers, and in livewells is the main introduction route to new lakes and
But, there's plenty more you can do to help.
Laws and lists:
- is "state-listed" by Florida and North Carolina
- is on the Florida Prohibited Plants list, Florida Department of Environmental Protection
- is a North Carolina class A noxious weed
- is on the Federal List of Noxious Weeds (USDA/APHIS, 2000)
Want to know more?
The information contained on this wep page was extracted from
published scientific literature and agency reports. It is important to know that plant research, like most
areas of scientific research, is still relatively young and incomplete--much may have been
published about the physiology of one plant but not about its management; much may have been
published about how to culture and grow another plant but not about its natural ecology.
Thousands of research articles may have been published about one invasive plant, but perhaps
only a dozen about another.
If you want to read the research yourself, perhaps to clarify or expand an area of information
contained here, or to help determine your own line of research, you are welcome to query the
world's largest collection of international scientific literature about aquatic, wetland and invasive
plants, the APIRS bibliographic database, which contains more than 54,000 citations and their content
keywords. Or you might want to ask us to do
it for you and mail or e-mail the search results to you.
This is the literature about Limnophila sessiliflora that was used to
develop this web page. More research items about this plant may be found at APIRS:
- Agarwal SG et al. 1975. Chemical examination of the volatile
oil of Limnophila rugosa. Indian J. Pharm. 37:99-100
- Angerstein MB, Lemke, DE. 1994. First records of the aquatic weed Hygrohila polysperma (Acanthaceae) from Texas. Sida 16:365-371
- Aurand D. 1982. Nuisance aquatic plants and aquatic plant management
programs in the United States: Volume two, Southeastern region. MITRE Co., McLean,
Virginia, 359 pp.
- Backer CA, Bakhuizen RC. 1965. Flora of Java. Vol. II. Groningen:
N.V.P. Noordhoff Ltd
- Biswas D, Calder CC. 1955. Handbook of Common Water and Marsh
Plants of India and Buram. Health Bull. 24, Delhi, 47 pp.
- Bowes G. 1982. Baseline physiology of the potential problem plants, Limnophila sessiliflora and Hygrophila polysperma. University of
Florida, Gainesville, Dept. of Botany. 17 pp.
- Bruenner G. 1970. A new giant aquatic plant Limnophila aquatica develops as a thankful guest. Aquarien Mag. 4:488-489
- Cobb JE, Haller W. 1981. Evaluation of Cabomba,
Hygrophila and Limnophila as potential new weeds in the United States.
Annual Report USDA/SEA/AR- University of Florida, Integrated Management of Aquatic
- Correll D, Correll H. 1972. Aquatic and Wetland Plants of the
Southwestern United States. Environmental Protection Agency. Washington, D.C. 1777 pp.
- Correll DS, Johnston MC. 1970. Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas.
Texas Research Foundation, Renner, TX.
- Dutta NM. 1975. A Revision of the genus Limnophila of
eastern India. Bull. Bot. Soc. Bengal. 29:1-7
- Furst GG. 1968. The anatomical structure of some aquatic plants. Byull.
Gl. Bot. Sada. 71:67-74
- Gilbert KM. 1984. A review of the aquatic plants Limnophila
heterophylla and Limnophila sessiliflora. Bureau of Aquatic Plant Research
and Control Dept. of Natural Resources. 12 pp.
- Godfrey R, Wooten J. 1981. Aquatic and Wetland Plants of Southeastern
United States, Dicotyledons. Univ. of Georgia Press, Athens. 933 pp.
- Hannan HH. 1969. The introduction and establishment of Ceratopteris in
Texas. Amer. Fern Journal. 59:122.
Hara H. 1978. Comments on East Asiatic Plants Part 5. J. Japanese Bot. 53:232-238.
- Haynes. 1985. Limnophila sessiliflora. Pests Not Known to
Occur in the United States. Unpublished technical series. USDA APHIS PPQ. Hyattsville, Md. 5
- Hemsley and Skan. 1906. Scrophulariaceae. In Thiselton-Dyer WT (ed.)
Flora of Tropical Africa. Vol. IV.
- Hertel I. 1971. Data on cultivation and reproduction of Limnophila
heterophylla. Monatsschr. Ornithol. Viva. Ausg. B. Aquarien Terrarien. 18:240-241
- Jacobsen N. 1977. Aquarium Plants. Blandford Press: Poole, Dorset. 160
- Kunii H. 1991. Records of Aquatic Macrophyte Flora and Environmental
Factors from the Irrigation Ponts around Lake Shinji, Shimane, Japan. From Memoirs of the
Faculty of Science, Shimane University
- Lemke DE. 1989. Aquatic macrophytes of the upper San Marcos River,
Hays County, Texas. South Western Naturalist. 32:289-291
- Li HL. 1978. Scrophulariaceae. In HL Li, TS Liu, TC Huang, T Koyama,
and CE DelVol, Flora of Taiwan, vol. IV. Epoch Publishing Co., Ltd., Taiwan. pp 551-616
- Lloyd RM. 1993. Parkeriaceae. In: Editorial Committee, eds. Flora of
North America North of Mexico, vol. 2, Oxford Univ. Press, New York. pp. 119-121
- Mahler MJ. 1980. Limnophila, a new exotic pest. Aquatics
- Matsumura J, Hayata B. 1906. Enumeratio Plantarum Formosanarum.
Journ. Coll. Sci., Imp. Uni. Todyo, Japan. 22:277
- Misra G, Tripathy G. 1975. Studies on the control of aquatic weeds of
Orissa, India. Effect of chemical herbicides on some aquatic weeds. J. Indian Bot. Soc. 54:65-71
- Muhlberg H. 1982. The Complete Guide to Water Plants. EP Publishing,
Ltd. German Democratic Republic. 392 pp.
- Naik VN. 1969. On the identity and nomenclature of some Indian plants.
Indian Forest. 95:413-417
- Pancho JV, Soerjani M. 1978. Aquatic Weeds of Southeast Asia.
National Publ. Coop. Inc.: Quezon City (Philippines). 129 pp.
- Pancho JV. 1976. Phillipine aquatic weeds. Kalikasan. 5:37-91.
- Penth B, Weigl J. 1971. Anion influx, ATP level and carbon dioxide
fixation in Limnophila gratioloides and Chara foetida. Planta Arch.
Wiss Bot. 96:212-223
- Philcox D. 1970. A taxonomic revision of the genus Limnophila R. Br. (scrophulariaceae). Kew Bull. 24(1):101-170
- Piccoli F. 1974. A previously unrecorded weed in rice fields Limnophila indica and Limnophila sessiliflora hybrid. Riso (Milan).
- Ramamoorthy TP, Turner BI. 1992. Nomaphila stricta (Acanthaceate), a newly discerned aquatic weed in Texas, and the first report for N. America.
- Rao, Ram HYM. 1981. Regeneration of whole plants from cultured root
tips of Limnophila indica. Can. J. Bot. 59:969-973
- Rataj K, Horeman TJ. 1977. Aquarium Plants. T.F. H. Publications:
- Ridley HN. 1967. The Flora of the Malay Peninsular. Vol. II, A.
Asher and Co., Amsterdam.
- Roe CD. 1967. A Manual of Aquarium Plants. Shirley Aquatics Ltd.
- Schardt J. 1992. Florida Aquatic Plant Survey Report. Florida Dept.
of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Aquatic Plant Management. 83 pp.
- Sculthorpe CD. 1967. The Biology of Aquatic Vascular Plants.
Edward Arnold Publ. Ltd.: London. 610 pp.
- Spencer W, Bowes G. 1984. Baseline Physiology of the Potential
Problem Plants, Limnohila sessiliflora and Hygrophila polysperma. Final Project
Report to DNR>
- Spencer W, Bowes G. 1985. Limnophila and Hygrophila: a review and
physiological assessment of their weed potential in Florida. J. Aq. Pl. Manag. 23:7-16
- Stodola J. 1967. Encyclopedia of Water Plants. Crown Publishers
(T.F.H. Publ.): New York. 368 pp.
- Subramanyam K. 1961. Aquatic Angiosperms. New Dehli: Council of
Scientific and Industrial Research.
- Takematsu TM et al. 1976. Weeds of cultivated fields and herbicides in
China. Bull. Coll. Agric. Utsunomiya Univ. 9:91-107
- Tarver DP. 1979. The 1979 Florida Aquatic Flora Survey Report.
Dept. of Natural Resources, Bureau of Aquatic Plant Research and Control. 56 pp.
- Van Dyke, J. 1984. (Personal communication). N.W. Regional
Biologist. Bureau of Aquatic Plants, DNR.
- Yamazaki T. 1985. A revision of the genera Limnophila and Torenia from Indochina. Journ. Fac. Sci. Univ. Todyo. III 13: 575-624
- Yang YP. 1987. A synopsis of aquatic angiospermous plants of
Taiwan. Bot. Bull. Acad. Sin. 28: 191-209
- Yang YP, Yen SH. 1997. Notes on Limnophila (scrophulariaceae) of Taiwan. Botanical Bulletin of Academia Sinica. pp. 285-294
- Wunderlin RP, Hansen BF, Bridges EL. 1995 (updated May 1996). Atlas
of Florida vascular plants.
See the UF/IFAS Assessment, which lists plants according to their invasive status in Florida.
View the herbarium specimen image of the University of Florida Herbarium Digital Imaging Projects.
Limnophila, Limnophila sessiliflora (Vahl) by David W. Hall, Vernon V. Vandiver, Cody J. Gray. SP 37 (2009)
|| This web page was authored in June, 2001, by Victor Ramey (Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants, University of Florida), with significant contribution from Barbara Peichel (Sea Grant, University of Minnesota). The information contained herein is based on the literature found in the APIRS database.