Water-soldier

Water-soldier ┬ęDr Malcolm Storey

Water-soldier

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Scientific name: Stratiotes aloides
Water-soldier grows submerged in ponds and open water, and pops up over summer, looking like the top of a pineapple! This rare plant displays white flowers and shelters many aquatic insects.

Top facts

Stats

Height: up to 5cm

Conservation status

Classified as Near Threatened on the Vascular Plant Red Data List for Great Britain.

When to see

January to December

About

The free-floating water-soldier is a rare aquatic plant that can be found in ponds and still, open water, mostly in Central and Eastern England. It is also grown in garden ponds and often escapes. It grows beneath the water, staying submerged for most of the year. From June to August, it surfaces and flowers, displaying white blooms. Like other aquatic plants, it offers resting and sheltering places for aquatic insects like dragonfly and damselfly larvae.

What to look for

The stiff leaves of water-soldier are spear-shaped and saw-edged, and form a rosette, looking a little bit like the top of a pineapple. A solitary, white, three-petalled flower arises from this rosette.

Where to find

Native plants confined to Eastern England; garden escapees more widespread.

Did you know?

Water-soldier mainly reproduces asexually in the UK, budding to produce three or four new plants each year. It can reproduce sexually, but almost all of our plants are female.