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Re: Eichhornia

> My E.azureas have reached the surface of the tank and started
> growing
> emersed leaves - the lovely submerged leaves have turned black
> and are
> falling off.
> I guess I missed that part in Kasselmann where she says that
> the surface
> leaves look ugly.
> My alternatives are 1: to chop off the top of the plant and
> plant it in the
> hopes that underwater leaves are formed again, or 2: to hope
> for
> (underwater) side shoots off the main stem. or 3: HELP!
> Do any of you have experiences with this?

I have had this plant for some time. I would hack it and try to
replant the top and leave the bottom intact. It may die off
though. Once it "knows" where the surface is it will not waste
any energy putting out sumersed leaves or shoots.Lilies will
often do this.

 Another method that you did not mention is to "bend" the plant
back under the water perhaps with fishing line anchored to
something to keep the plant under and it will produce side
shoots (all along the top) often in this manner with a submersed
plant and reconvert the process of immersed leave production
back to submersed. Don't "pull" the stem to far under the
surface perhaps only 2-3 inches from the surface in a "L" bent
shape. This will minimize the light shock and will not require
any cutting futher reducing shock to the plant.
It's a fast grower etc but it can die easily and blacken out.
     The other Eichhornia (diversilfolia)does this as well.
I believe the blackened leaves are a competition mechanism to
block light from other plants/algae. The old dead generation
keeps any other plants growing till the next season(s) so the
Eichhornia gets a head start and perhaps the narrow morphology
of the plant allows it to get through all the blackened litter
easier than other plants. It could also be once the plant
blackens that it covers the surface completely even if it's
mostly dead plants but a few plants are still actively growing,
getting all the nutrients etc out of the water/soil etc. It's
certainly an advanced plant with many ways to compete in an
aquatic environment. It's also a no-no plant on the bad noxious
weed list. Nice flower. 

Soap box:
The funny thing is that nurseries often sell water hythcinth(an
extremely common Eichhornia species) yet no USDA folks are
calling all the nurseries in CA to stop them in any way. They
have free access and sales. Hell, this plant is the one that
will get into the water ways and clog everything. Not the things
we generally keep....(a few will though, don't dump them!~)I've
seen more noxious weeds for sale than I care to elaborate on at
these places. I like ponds very much, don't get me wrong. If
your going to "look the other way" why not this small group of
plant tank people as well? They tend to be a lesser risk at
keeping things from getting into nature I would bet. Simply less
of us as well. 
I find it quite peculiar that this plant is allowed and others
like it to "pond gardeners" yet we are harassed (Orchard's and a
many chain stores carry water H's). These plants have a higher
probability/likelhood of getting loose.
But the nurseries have other plants that are sold and are
ornamentals and also noxious weeds yet they are sold freely.
That part bugs me. If it's a commercially saleable plant, it
doesn't matter if its a weed or not. The USDA wears two hats
with their noxious weed program. Side note: 26F degrees is
consider "fresh" for turkey & chicken sold in this state under
the USDA. I guess they changed the physical constant of water.
Such power...... 

Happy Bird-day
Tom Barr who is happy and stuffed from a USDA inspected "fresh"

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