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Re:Gymnocoronis: a neat plant

Recently I got a plant of Gymnocoronis spilanthoides which showed up, in
all places, at the local PetSmart outlet.  Every once in a while they get a
shipment of assorted, unnamed potted aquatic plants, and this showed up
there.  I recognized it from the picture in Aquarienpflanzen.

In Aquarienpflanzen, the author, C. Kasselmann, doesn't get too excited
about the plant.  She warns that it needs bright light or it's internodes
will become too long.  She does say that it can grow new plants easily,
even from floating leaves.

Rataj and Horeman also discuss this plant, although they have no picture.
They get a little excited about its regenerative powers, and you can see
that they are impressed with it.

When my plant got established, it looked a lot nicer than the one pictured
in Aquarienpflanzen.  I had it in a 15 gallon with 3 20-watt fluorescents.
The internodes were a lot closer, and the large, broad leaves were much
wavier, even twisted in the manner of leaves of Aponogeton unvaceus.  I
think it is one of the most strikingly different aquatic plants I have
seen, with its massive, compact growth.  It is beyond the 'easy-to-keep'
category and well into the 'hard-to-kill' category.  One can hack it up
into little bits, and every one regenerates new plantlets.  It appears to
grow pretty well, floating, even in conditions where floating Ceratopteris
is iron deficient.  It does have to be cut back when it reaches the
surface, or it will keep on going and try to push the cover off the tank.
It is in the aster family, and the only other aquatic member from that
group that I know of is Tricoronis rivularis ? the "Mexican Oak", which is
known to be fast-growing and easy to propagate from cuttings.

Gymnocoronis should be planted in groups near the back or sides of the
tank.  A series of stem segments with leaves should be weighted down with
pebbles, and in a few weeks the new growth should be very decorative.

Paul Krombholz                  Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS  39174
Recovering from the flu