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Family: Alismataceae

Common Name: Ruffled Leaf Sword

Origin and Habitat: Central Brazil. Grows emersed in shallow streams at elevation around 500 metres (Lehtonen 2007). The native plant is rarely collected, and those in the aquarium hobby are largely hybrids or cultivars (Kasselmann 2002).

Ideal position in aquarium

Single plants can be used as a centrepiece, or planted along the side or rear walls as background plants.

Lighting requirements

Moderate lighting. In partial shade, the leaves are narrower, somewhat resembling an Aponogeton.

Growth rate


Minimum Tank Suggestion

18+ inches depth

Water parameters for Ruffled Leaf Sword

Temperature 24-28C/75-82F, soft to medium hard water, pH acidic to basic.


Echinodorus major is a beautiful sword plant that provides a very distinctive contrast to other members of the genus and is ideal as a background or corner plant in larger aquaria. The leaves, slightly lighter green that the common Amazon sword, arise from a compact rhizome up to 50cm/20in in length; the petioles are short, and the blade has wavy edges and one or two pairs of lighter-green veins that end above the base of the blade. The leaves generally grow more directly vertical than most of the other species in this genus, and thus take up less horizontal space.

This species is always submersed, unlike the majority of Echinodorus, and therefore is not suitable for terrariums or paludariums. Inflorescences [=flower stalks] will be produced; it is self-fertile, developing seeds that is the principal method of reproduction. Rataj (2004) writes that this species does not develop adventitious plants from the nodes along the floral stock, nor does it produce root runners. One of three plants in the author's (Byron) tank did produce several adventitious plants after flowering, even though the parent plant was grown submersed. New plants can also be obtained from dormant buds on the rhizome.

This plant may appear under either Echinodorus martii or E. major in the literature and may be seen under either name in the hobby. Originally described as Echinodorus martii by Micheli in 1881, Rataj (1967) revised it to E. major. In his latest (to date) revision of 2004, Rataj re-established it as E. martii. Lehtonen (2007) summarizes the complicated history of the name of this taxon and describes it as E. major and since he has extensively studied the genus phylogenetically we are following his classification.


Kasselmann, Christel (2002), Aquarium Plants [English translation by Ulf Kotlenga].

Lehtonen, Samuli (2007), "An integrative approach to species delimitation in Echinodorus (Alismataceae) and the description of two new species," Kew Bulletin Vol. 63, No. 4, pp. 525-563.

Rataj, Karel (2004), "A New Revision of the Swordplant Genus Echinodorus Richard 1848 (Alismataceae)," Aqua--Journal of Ichthyology and Aquatic Biology, Special Publication No. 1, March 2004.

Contributing Members

The following members have contributed to this profile: Byron


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