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Toxic parts

The fresh leaves and roots are toxic but the toxic principal is destroyed by heat or by drying[1][2].

Edible uses


Root - cooked[1][2][3][4]. Rich in starch[5]. Caution is advised, the root is acrid if it is not dried or well cooked before use[6][7]. Leaves and petioles - must be thoroughly cooked. They require long boiling and have a salty flavour[8][9].


Material uses

There are no material uses listed for Alisma plantago-aquatica.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The leaves are antibacterial, anticholesterolemic, diaphoretic, diuretic, hypoglycaemic and hypotensive[10][11][12]. They are used in the treatment of cystitis, dysentery, renal calculus, gravel etc[10]. The fresh leaf is rubefacient[13]. It is used in the treatment of leprosy[14] and is also applied locally to bruises and swellings[10].

Dried stem bases eaten, or grated and taken with water in treating digestive disorders such as heartburn, cramps and stomach flu[15]. The powdered seed is an astringent, used in cases of bleeding[10]. The seed is also said to promote sterility[14]. The root has a wide range of medicinal uses[12][14]. It is antibacterial, anticholesterolemic, diuretic and hypotensive[12]. It is said to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels[16] whilst it also has an antibacterial action on Staphylococcus, Pneumococci and Mycobacterium[12]. The root is used in the treatment of oliguria, oedema, nephritis, acute diarrhoea, cholesterolaemia and fatty liver[12]. It has been thought of as a cure for rabies, though this has not been substantiated[10]. The whole plant is believed to promote conception[14]. The root is harvested before the plant comes into flower and is dried for later use[16].

A homeopathic remedy is obtained from the fresh root[10].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Place the pot in about 3cm of water to keep the soil wet. Pot up the seedlings when large enough to handle and keep in the cold frame for the first winter, planting out in late spring. Division in spring or autumn. Fairly easy, the divisions can be planted straight out into their permanent positions.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Alisma plantago-aquatica. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Succeeds in a sunny position in boggy ground or shallow water up to 25cm deep[17].

Plants often self-sow aggressively when in a suitable position[18][19]. The subspecies A. plantago-maritima orientale. Sam. is the form used medicinally in China[12]. The subspecies A. plantago-maritima parviflorum (Syn A. parviflorum, A. subcordatum) is the form used medicinally in America[13].

Plants are very attractive to slugs[K].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Alisma plantago-aquatica. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Alisma plantago-aquatica.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Alisma plantago-aquatica
Imported References
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type

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    1. ? Triska. Dr. Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-33545-3 (1975-00-00)
    2. ? Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.1 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.1 Komarov. V. L. Flora of the USSR. Israel Program for Scientific Translation (1968-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.1 Chakravarty. H. L. The Plant Wealth of Iraq. ()
    6. ? 6.06.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.1 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.1 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.1 Reid. B. E. Famine Foods of the Chiu-Huang Pen-ts'ao. Taipei. Southern Materials Centre (1977-00-00)
    10. ? Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    11. ? 11.011.1 ? A Barefoot Doctors Manual. Running Press ISBN 0-914294-92-X ()
    12. ? Yeung. Him-Che. Handbook of Chinese Herbs and Formulas. Institute of Chinese Medicine, Los Angeles (1985-00-00)
    13. ? Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (1990-00-00)
    14. ? Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (1985-00-00)
    15. ? 15.015.1 Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
    16. ? Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    17. ? 17.017.1 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    18. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    19. ? Muhlberg. H. Complete Guide to Water Plants. E. P. Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0-7158-0789-7 (1982-00-00)
    20. ? Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)

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