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Eight-stamened Waterwort

Elatine hydropiper

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Elatinaceae (Waterwort)
Also in this family:
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
10 centimetres tall
Mud, water, wetland.

Pink, 4 petals
Stalked, solitary flowers which emerge from the leaf axils. 8 stamens. 4 green sepals. Similar looking to Six-stamened Waterwort (Elatine hexandra) but has 4 petals and 8 stamens, not 3 petals and 6 stamens.
An elliptical fruit capsule.
A creeping, annual aquatic plant which grows in shallow water. The green, spoon-shaped leaves are arranged in opposite pairs along the stems. The leaves are frequently tinged red.
Other Names:
Eight-stamen Waterwort.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Elatine hydropiper (also known as eight-stamen waterwort) is a species of flowering plant belonging to the family Elatinaceae. It is native to Europe and East Asia and is commonly used as a foreground carpeting aquatic plant in aquariums due to its small leaves and creeping growth. The plant is relatively new to the aquarium hobby and was first introduced in 2010 by the aquatic plant nursery Anubias. Elatine hydropiper is relatively hard to grow and can be challenging to maintain in the aquarium, but if given the right conditions it can provide a beautiful and unique look.


Eight-stamened Waterwort (Elatine hydropiper) is a small aquatic plant that belongs to the Elatinaceae family. It is widely distributed throughout the world, growing in shallow freshwater habitats such as ponds, lakes, and streams.

The plant is named for its distinctive 8 stamens, which are the male reproductive organs of the flower. The flowers of the eight-stamened waterwort are small, with a greenish-yellow color, and are usually produced in clusters. The plant has a creeping habit, with its stems spreading out along the surface of the water and rooting at the nodes.

In addition to its unique flower structure, the eight-stamened waterwort is also known for its medicinal properties. The plant has been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive problems and skin conditions. Some studies have also shown that it has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.

Despite its widespread distribution and medicinal uses, the eight-stamened waterwort is not a well-known plant. It is considered to be an invasive species in some parts of the world, where it can outcompete native aquatic plants and alter the ecosystem. As such, it is important to monitor and manage its populations in these areas to prevent ecological harm.

The eight-stamened waterwort is a fascinating and unique plant that has both ornamental and medicinal value. While it should be managed in areas where it is considered invasive, its presence in other areas can add to the biodiversity of aquatic habitats.

The eight-stamened waterwort has a number of adaptations that make it well-suited to its aquatic environment. For example, it has small, floating leaves that help it stay afloat and allow it to capture sunlight more effectively. The plant also has a shallow root system that helps it to absorb nutrients from the water.

In addition to its medicinal properties, the eight-stamened waterwort also has value as a food source for wildlife. Some species of waterbirds, such as ducks and geese, are known to feed on the plant. This provides an important source of nutrition for these birds, particularly in areas where other food sources are limited.

The plant is also an important habitat for aquatic insects, such as dragonflies and damselflies. These insects lay their eggs on the stems of the plant, and the larvae use the plant as a food source before emerging as adult insects. This in turn provides food for other aquatic species, such as fish, which feed on the insects.

Despite its value as a food source and habitat for wildlife, the eight-stamened waterwort can also have negative impacts in certain areas. In areas where it is invasive, it can outcompete native aquatic plants and reduce biodiversity. It can also alter water chemistry and disrupt the food web, affecting other aquatic species.

The eight-stamened waterwort is a fascinating plant with a range of benefits and potential negative impacts. Understanding the ecology and behavior of this plant is important for managing its populations and conserving aquatic ecosystems.

The eight-stamened waterwort is an easy plant to cultivate and care for. It is typically propagated through cuttings, which can be taken from the stems and planted directly into the water. The plant prefers shallow water with plenty of sunlight, and can be grown in a range of soil types as long as the water is not too deep.

The plant is low-maintenance, and does not require regular pruning or fertilizing. However, it is important to keep an eye on its growth and manage its populations if it starts to become invasive. This can be done through physical removal of the plant, or by using herbicides to control its growth.

In addition to its ornamental and medicinal value, the eight-stamened waterwort is also a popular plant for aquarists and pond enthusiasts. It can be used as a foreground plant in aquascaping, and provides an attractive and low-maintenance addition to any water garden.

However, it is important to be aware of the potential negative impacts of the eight-stamened waterwort, particularly in areas where it is considered invasive. It is recommended to research the plant and its impacts in your area before planting it in a pond or water garden.

In conclusion, the eight-stamened waterwort is an attractive and low-maintenance plant that can be an asset to any water garden. With proper care and management, it can provide a range of benefits, including ornamental value, medicinal properties, and habitat for wildlife. However, it is important to be aware of its potential negative impacts and manage its populations responsibly.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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