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Re:Dreaded non-aquatic Alternanthera

>From: Dave Webb <dwebb at sunset_backbone.olemiss.edu>
>Subject: Question

>..............I bought the dreaded and, unbeknownst to me,
>non-aquatic Alternanthera.  So I start looking on the web and see that
>'this plant isn't supposed to go in your aquariums' (big gruff
>instructor's voice). Being a good student, I rush home, take the plant
>out (it had been in the tank about two weeks) and pop it in some very
>moist potting soil since the advice was something like 'this plant will
>be more at home on your windowsill than in your aquarium'.
>Well, three hours later the plant looked like my sister's hair after a
>thunderstorm.  So I yank it out of the dirt, pop it back in the tank and
>presto-chango, it looks great again.
>Am I just delaying the inevitable here? ...............

If it is Alternanthera sessilis, it truly belongs out of water, or, at
least part of it.   I got some of that species last spring at Petsmart and
gave it the best conditions I could under water.  I was just checking out
the claims that It couldn't be grown underwater.   It grew some roots, but
the new leaves were tiny little things, only about three millimeters long
clasped tight to the stem.  It grew straight up very slowly until one of
the stems reached the water surface, at which point it took off with
above-water growth looking fairly normal with leaves an inch to an inch and
a half long.  The fact that it grew so poorly under water but so well when
it broke the surface indicates that lack of nutrients were not a problem,
just being underwater was the problem.

A. sessilis is very dark beet-red, with rather narrow leaves and an even
darker stem.  there are a lot of varieties of Alternanthera reineckii that
do grow underwater.  They range in color from red to green and the leaf
shape ranges from rather like leaves of Ludwigia palustris to long and
narrow with wavy edges.

Paul Krombholz, in soggy central Mississippi