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[APD] Re: Terrestrial Plant Sold As Aquatic Plants

I'm inclined to agree with Roger that Spathiphyllum should not be sold
as an aquatic plant by fish stores however if we use the criteria that a
plant grows better out of water than submersed then we should also
disqualify Anubias, Bacopa, Ludwigia and almost every other plant with
pointed end leaves.

The "definition" of aquatic plant is made entirely based upon arbitrary
classification for some other purpose; there is no hard biological
distinction. For our purposes we need to evaluate whether the unique
appearance of a particular species merits using it & if it can survive
long enough in the water to be an attractive feature. I think most
people would also wish that the plant be able to survive indefinitely &
propagate under water. I should point out that ordinary lawn grass can
grow under water just fine but its hardly unique enough to bother using
it this way.

Another distinction to make is whether the plant adapts its leaf
structure to submerse condition by suppressing the wax cuticle layer
which prevents water loss in its terrestrial form. Submersed Crypt
leaves for example, will dry out & shrivel up if you try to move the
plant out of water. You must let the plant grow its leaves up & out of
the water or keep it in an enclosed humid environment & gradually reduce
the humidity levels until the leaves have acclimatized. I'm no expert on
that; its easier said than done & I grow all my Crypts under water.
OTOH, there are many stem plants that readily grow right up out of the
water & then take off like weeds. Ludwigia is like this.

I suspect that you could take Spathiphyllum or Anubias and simply pot it
& it would grow quite well without worrying about transition to emerse.
I expect these plants might retain their cuticle even under water but I
don't know for sure. Anybody know?

As far as keeping Spathiphyllum underwater, I've kept mine for years &
don't have a problem suggesting it to people who know its limitations &
who like its looks. Its very similar to Anubias but grows even more
slowly than Anubias. YMMV.

Does anybody else grow Spathiphyllum underwater besides me? I grew it
because nobody told me I couldn't so I did & it did.

Steve P

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