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Mysterious US plant
Recently during my kayaking outings to rivers in the NJ - NY - PA
tri-state area I collected a plant that I have not been yet able to
identify (the books I checked for pictures are: Rataji, Dennerle's book,
Baensch Atlas vol. 1 and 2. I also skimmed through the University of
Florida web site on aquatic plants).
It is a plant that clings to rock substrates, where it forms carpet-like
mats at most 1.5 inches thick. The plant forms runners sticking to the
substrate, from which short green stems originate every few millimeters.
These stems divide and branch out two-four times, producing sort of
coral-like ramifications that do not have visible any sort of typical
leaf structure. I have observed it only in relatively isolated patches
covering large, horizontal slates of rock, relatively close to the water
surface, preferably in areas with smooth water movement (not stagnant,
nor choppy). It is difficult to find the plant on smaller pebbles, even
if adjacent to slates covered with one of those mats, presumably because
they are not stable during flood situations.
With difficulty I was able to located a few smaller rocks carrying the
plant and wedged between larger ones.
These small pebbles are now in a few inches of water in a plastic
container just below a compact fluorescent light (the container is
sitting on the canopy of a 10 gal aquarium). A couple of small pond
snails provide some organic nutrients, and in addition the plants seem
to like minute doses of PMDD, since the few runners I originally
collected have now generated several new plants and they are also
spreading. Soon I will try to propagate it to a small piece of rock or
driftwood, and then move it to one of my aquaria.
Even if tropical temperatures turn out to be not suitable, I imagine the
plant would look great in small unheated setups on a windowsill such as
for example a 2.5 gal. with small pebbles, a small driftwood and a few
Incidentally, I tried the same last year, but the two samples I
collected then did not make it when I placed them directly in a planted
Discus aquarium. It was however a very recent setup, and difficult
plants often have better chances in established tanks. So, I am going to
try again using newly propagated samples.
I am interested in knowing if anybody has any suggestion about the
possible ID and references for additional information on this plant.