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redchigh 08-18-2010 09:56 AM

Question about swordplants...
I was just wondering, do all swordplants produce by plantlets?

I think I read that the chain swords and Echinodorus Augustifolia propogate via runners rather than plantlets..

Is this correct?

Ae there any swordplants that don't reproduce with either?

Byron 08-18-2010 04:24 PM

I suspect that by "plantlets" you are meaning reproduction by the inflorescence, as opposed to reproduction by runners. Both forms result in what I usually call daughter plants, or plantlets, somewhat interchangeably.

All Echinodorus use one of these methods, as well as the more "normal" sexual flower/seed. The will not (as far as I know) produce flowers when grown submersed, only when emersed. In their natural habitat they are all bog plants, amphibious, spending about half the year emersed during the dry season (when they flower) and half submersed during the flooded months.

When grown submersed in the aquarium, those species that produce an inflorescence emersed still do, sometimes once a year and sometimes more often. But instead of flowers at the nodes, plantlets/daughter plants appear.

Dr. Karl Rataj, who arguably knows more about this genus than any other botanist, revised the genus in 2004. In his published book on the revision, Dr. Rataj follows Fassett (1955) in dividing the genus into two subgenera, namely Helianthium and Echinodorus. The first contains two sections, Tenellii and Nymphaeifolii. The latter of these holds one species, E. nymphaeifolius, while the former holds nine (similar) species including E. tenellus which is the type species for the group. He states that the species in this section, unlike the other species, propagate mainly vegetatively by long rhizomatous runners up to 50 cm long, with new plantlets at intervals of 2-5 cm, regardless of whether they are cultivated emersed or submersed. Plantlets sprouting from the inflorescence are relatively rare. In nature these plants grow mostly in swamps, with emersed forms flowering regularly and forming achenes. Constantly submersed plants are sterile and reproduce only vegetatively. [cited from p. 5]

In the 15 or so years I have been cultivating E. tenellus and E. quadricostatus they certainly have never produced an inflorescence but the runners are very frequent. All of my plants of the latter species in the 115g and of the former species in the 90g are descendants from single plants I acquired in the mid-1990's.

Hope that answers the question.:-)

Edit: Just noticed I didn't respond on the matter of E. augustifolia--which is actually E. angustifolius as described by Rataj (1975). It is within the Tenellii group, so yes, same as E. tenellus and the related species.


Inga 08-18-2010 05:34 PM

Any chance that any of you have pictures of a "daughter plant" from a Amazon Sword? Any Sword that produces daughter plants, for that matter? I don't think mine have produced any, if they did, I missed it. I am really hoping my Amazon's do reproduce as I would love a few more of them in my tank.

Byron 08-18-2010 07:06 PM

2 Attachment(s)
You would not miss them if your plant has them. It takes a while, sometimes; I had the three Echinodorus bleherae in my 115g for 14 months before they suiddenly sent out 1 or 2 inflorescences (flower spikes) and plantlets (daughter plants) formed. That was last December. Then about two months ago, these same plants decided to send out a couple more inflorescences.

Photo 1 below I just took of two of the three E. bleherae in my 115g; the plant on the right has 3 (or maybe 4) inflorescences arising from the crown and each has several daughter plants on it. During the water change earlier today I broke off a few of the daughter plants (they are so thick near the surface, I wanted to open up some swimming space for my group of marble hatchets) and three of them are the smaller light-green plants in the foreground. They are about the same size as the daughter plants still on the inflorescences (look like long stems).

The plant on the left has 4 or 5 inflorescences. Second photo has this plant on the right, the (larger) E. bleherae to the left of the first one, with 4 heavily-loaded inflorescences. And on the far left the third E. bleherae which happens to be right beside a E. macrophyllus [the plant with the long stems up to the surface with a semi-floating leaf on each stem] that is more than 12 years old now. I have two other plants in this tank that were daughter plants on this one last year, they are now as big.

Not a very clear photos I know, but they give you the idea I think.

And they say you can't grow plants in gravel.

Anyone want some E. bleherae?


Inga 08-18-2010 07:24 PM

Alright, nothing like that in my tank. Darn it! I hope they do start producing some baby Amazons. I LOVE those plants. :)

redchigh 08-19-2010 03:24 PM

When I got my blehiri in, they had a spike with several daughter plants... I pulled them off, and they haven't grown anymore in a year... :P

Inga 08-19-2010 03:53 PM

Maybe they only reproduce yearly? Maybe yours was worn out from producing so many daughters at once? lol

LisaC144 08-19-2010 03:57 PM

Byron, what's the taller grassy plant in your tank? I needa couple for the front of my tank.

Byron 08-19-2010 04:21 PM


Originally Posted by redchigh (Post 450931)
When I got my blehiri in, they had a spike with several daughter plants... I pulled them off, and they haven't grown anymore in a year... :P

Something may be missing or out of balance. Apparently the production of inflorescences can be affected by nutrients (insufficient, one or more) and light (duration and intensity). In the same aquarium, I have plants that do and those that don't, so ...

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