Echinodorus macraphyllus

Botanical Name :Echinodorus macraphyllus
Family: Alismataceae
Genus: Echinodorus
Species: E. macrophyllus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Alismatales

Synonym: E. radicans hort.

Common Name :Chapeu-de-Couro

Habitat : Origin –South America; these plants are found from Guyana up to Brazil and Argentina.

Description:
Echinodorus macrophyllus is one of the large, orbiculate “sword” plants which grow up out of even large aquariums in good growing conditions.

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Petioles 2 – 3 x longer than the blade, membraneously alate on the base, thin to densely pilose under the blade. Pubescence simple or stellate and absent on young or submerged plants. Blade membraneous, sagittato-cordate or triangularly obovate with long blunt lobes, approximately as wide as the midrib length and widest at the base. Blade (6.5) – 20 – 30 cm long and (7_ – 20 – 30 cm wide with 11 – 13 veins (7 – 15 are possible). No pellucid markings.

Stem upright, about twice as long as the leaves, cylindrical, between the whorls triangular, pubescent under whorls as well as petioles.

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Inflorescence rarely racemose, usually paniculate having 6 – 13 whorls containing 6 – 9 flowers each. Bracts lanceolate, densely ribbed. Bracts in the first whorl as long as the pedicels, in the other whorls they are a third shorter. Pedicels 1 – 3.5 cm long, sepals broadly ovate, leather-like, densely ribbed, 5 – 6 mm long, petals white, obovate, 15 – 18 mm long, stamens 20 – 24, filaments longer than the anthers, pistils numerous, style longer than the ovary.

Aggregate fruit globular, echinate, 6 – 8 mm in diameter. Achenes flat, subovately-cuneate, 3 x 1.5 mm with 3 – 5 (usually 3) lateral ribs and 2 – 3 oblong and further 3 – 5 small round glands. Stylar beak usually straight, approximately 0.75 mm.

Cultivation:
Grow at tropical temperatures with plenty of light and a rich substrate. It can stand lower temperatures however if acclimatised, though it will stay rather smaller and grow more slowly. Water conditions don’t seem to be critical. In the smaller aquarium it will often quickly form emerse leaves, which prefer moist conditions and don’t like being dried out by being too near lamps etc. It is easy to grow and makes a very good specimen plant for the larger aquarium.

Propagation:
Although this is a rhizome plant, division of the rhizome is not the only way this plant can be propagated. They will also develop adventitious plants around the mother plant. To propagate these it is simply a matter of prying them free from the rosette of leaves and re-planting them in the substrate. Ensure that they get nutrients added straight away to encourage the new root growth

Medicinal Uses:
An herbal tea is made from the leaves.  The taste is a little strong and honey or stevia can be mixed in to sweeten it. Influential in the treatment of arthritis, rheumatism, poor circulation, blemishes, skin eruptions, liver ailments,  kidney and urinary infections, syphilis, and dermatitis

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.aqua-fish.net/show.php?what=plant&cur_lang=2&id=131
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echinodorus_macrophyllus
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://www.tropica.com/plants/plantdescription.aspx?pid=073

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