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Various-leaved Water Starwort

Callitriche platycarpa

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Callitrichaceae (Water Starwort)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
1 metre tall
Ditches, mud, water, wetland.

Green, no petals
Small, green, inconspicuous flowers. The flowers have yellow anthers.
4 very small green nutlets. Normally winged. The wings are broader than some species of Water Starwort.
Simple, opposite, elliptical, dull, bluish-green leaves. Some leaves are floating and some are submerged.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Callitriche platycarpa, also known as various-leaved water-starwort, is a perennial herb that is largely aquatic and typically found in most types of water bodies. It is native to Europe, Trkiye, and the temperate biome. It is characterized by floating rosettes of leaves connected to the water-bed by threadlike stems. It is part of the Callitriche palustris species group and is widespread throughout Europe.


Various-leaved Water Starwort (Callitriche platycarpa) is a type of aquatic plant that is commonly found in freshwater habitats. This species belongs to the Callitrichaceae family and is known for its distinctive and attractive foliage.

The leaves of Callitriche platycarpa are oval in shape and grow up to 1.5 cm in length. They are bright green in color and are arranged in an opposite or alternate pattern on the stem. The leaves are also covered with fine hairs, giving them a soft texture.

The flowers of this species are small and inconspicuous, with both male and female flowers present on the same plant. They are typically greenish in color and are surrounded by small bracts.

Callitriche platycarpa is an extremely hardy plant that is able to survive in a wide range of water conditions. It is often found in slow-moving or still water bodies, such as ponds, lakes, and ditches. This species is also capable of growing in areas with low levels of light, making it a popular choice for aquariums and pond gardens.

One of the unique characteristics of Callitriche platycarpa is its ability to reproduce both sexually and asexually. This means that it can produce new plants through the production of seeds or through the formation of new shoots from its roots. This makes it an excellent plant for creating a dense underwater plant bed.

Various-leaved Water Starwort is a versatile and attractive aquatic plant that is well-suited to a variety of freshwater habitats. Its hardiness, distinctive foliage, and ability to reproduce both sexually and asexually make it an excellent choice for pond and aquarium gardens.

In addition to its ornamental value, Callitriche platycarpa also provides important ecological benefits. Like other aquatic plants, it helps to improve water quality by absorbing excess nutrients and pollutants from the water. This species also provides important habitat for a range of aquatic insects and animals, such as dragonflies, damselflies, and amphibians.

Callitriche platycarpa is also a valuable food source for waterfowl, such as ducks and geese. The plant's leaves and stems are rich in nutrients and provide a valuable source of food for these birds during the winter months.

When it comes to caring for Callitriche platycarpa, this species is relatively low maintenance and easy to grow. It prefers a water depth of 10-30 cm, but can tolerate a wide range of water conditions. It is also important to ensure that the plant has access to adequate sunlight, as this species requires a minimum of 2-3 hours of direct sunlight each day in order to grow and thrive.

In terms of propagation, Callitriche platycarpa can be propagated from seeds or through the division of established plants. When propagating from seeds, it is important to ensure that the seeds are kept in moist conditions, as they require a high level of moisture in order to germinate.

In addition to its ornamental and ecological benefits, Callitriche platycarpa is also a popular choice for use in bioremediation projects. This is because the plant has the ability to absorb a wide range of pollutants, including heavy metals, pesticides, and oil spills. By using this species in bioremediation projects, it is possible to reduce the amount of pollutants in water bodies, improving the overall water quality and helping to protect aquatic ecosystems.

It is important to note that, like other aquatic plants, Callitriche platycarpa is susceptible to damage from herbicides and other chemical pollutants. This means that care should be taken to protect the plant from exposure to these substances, particularly in areas where water pollution is a concern.

When planting Callitriche platycarpa in an aquarium or pond, it is important to provide adequate space for the plant to grow. This species can become quite dense and may require occasional thinning in order to maintain a healthy plant community. It is also important to avoid over-fertilizing the water, as this can lead to excess growth and a decline in water quality.

Another important aspect to consider when planting Callitriche platycarpa is its compatibility with other aquatic plants. This species is known to grow well alongside other aquatic plants and can help to create a diverse and healthy underwater ecosystem. It is also known to be compatible with a range of aquatic animals, including fish, amphibians, and invertebrates.

Callitriche platycarpa is also relatively easy to maintain, making it a good choice for both experienced aquarists and novice hobbyists. This species is able to tolerate a wide range of water conditions, including fluctuations in temperature, pH, and water hardness.

In terms of disease and pest resistance, Callitriche platycarpa is considered to be a relatively low-maintenance species. However, it is important to monitor the plant for signs of disease or pest damage, particularly if the water conditions in the aquarium or pond are poor.

In conclusion, Callitriche platycarpa is an excellent choice for those looking to enhance the health and beauty of their aquatic environment. Its compatibility with other aquatic plants and animals, ease of maintenance, and resistance to disease and pests make it a valuable addition to any freshwater habitat. With its attractive foliage, this species is sure to add a touch of beauty to any pond or aquarium garden.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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