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Hemianthus micranthemoides

Steve Dixon wrote:

>Someone mentioned using Micranthemoides as a carpet plant the other day.
>I want to take a moment a try to figure out which plant we're talking
>about.  There is a small plant from SE USA and Cuba with whorls of 3-4
>pointed ovate leaves which looks a bit like a star from a distance.
>This is identified as Hemianthus micranthemoides in Baensch Atlas vol.
>1, Kasselmann's book and Pablo Tepoot's new book.  Baensch lists a
>common name of "Pearlweed."  It does indeed cover the gravel quickly and
>will grow both horizontally and vertically.  It is a robust and lovely
>little plant with many uses. I have used it as ground cover and also let
>it grow to 20 inches in height!  Amano's books appear to routinely
>"misidentify" this plant as Micranthemum micranthemoides.  I had a hard
>time noticing this, perhaps because I didn't realize how small this
>plant really is in the pictures of Amano's tanks.
>There is another plant named Micranthemum umbrosum, also from the SE
>USA, with opposite roundish paired leaves which are not pointed.  I have
>no experience with this plant, but it looks (from the pictures) like it
>grows quite similarly to H. micranthemoides.  I gather that these two
>plants were at one time regarded as member of the same genus, but no
>Have I got this right?  Perhaps the original poster will tell us which
>plant s/he was referring to.

Yes, you've got it right.  The old name for it was Micranthemum.  It is now
considered Hemianthus, and the plant they're using as a ground cover at the
Aquarium Center is the same one your growing. (having been in the enviable
position of having seen both the tanks in person recently ;-)  Their
conditions, however do not produce quite a robust growth as I saw in your

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Association