Pistia stratiotes 

(piss' tee-ah strat-ee-o' tees)

Common name: Water Lettuce

Family: Araceae, Arum

Height x width: 3" x 12"

Growth rate: moderate

Foliage: soft green, velvety rosettes 4-6" across resembling small downy heads of lettuce, evergreen, floating with long roots dangling in water serving as refuge for fish

Flowers: inconspicuous hidden in foliage, yellow short-stalked

Hardiness: zone 10, annual

Soil: none, floating

Light: sun to part shade in the South

Pests and Problems: none serious

Landscape habit, uses: water gardens, water containers

Other interest: originally recorded on the Nile, possibly Lake Victoria, and now a widespread weed throughout the tropics

Other culture: as water hyacinth may become invasive colonizing large expanses of lakes and rivers; overwinter indoors in a mix of moist loam and sand; best growth at 66-72ºF water temperature

Propagation: division of plantlets from stolons, seeds covered with sand and kept almost submerged


Only one species in the genus and no cultivars.

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS123 course.

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