Alisma plantago-aquatica 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Liliopsida Alismatales Alismataceae

Scientific Name: Alisma plantago-aquatica L.
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Common Water-plantain
French Alisma Plantain d'Eau
Spanish Llantén de Agua
Alisma plantago-aquatica ssp. michaletii Asch. & Graebn.
Taxonomic Notes: Although there is some uncertainty regarding the taxonomy of populations close to A. plantago-aquatica in Asia, these do not affect evaluation of the species in Europe.

Plants with the leaves similar to that of A. plantago-aquatica, styles as in A. gramineum and 0.2-0.3 mm long undeveloped anthers are known from Orenburg Region (basin of the Ural and Samara Rivers). Apparently this is the result of hybridization of A. plantago-aquatica × A. gramineum and possibly sterile. These are known as A. ×bjorkqvistii Tzvel. (Tzvelev 2001). This hybridisation is not sufficiently frequent to affect evaluation of the species.

A. plantago-aquatica is reported to hybridise occasionally with A. lanceolatum (A. ×rhicnocarpum Schotsm.) but this is not sufficiently frequent to affect evaluation of the species in Europe.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-05-12
Assessor(s): Lansdown, R.V. & Beentje, H.J.
Reviewer(s): Luke, W.R.Q.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Maiz-Tome, L.
This species is classed as Least Concern as it is widespread with stable populations and does not face any major threats.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This is a widespread species. It is found in locations from northern Europe to Africa and southeast Asia. It ranges from E Europe through the Caucasus, to the Middle East, Siberia, Kazakhstan, the Himalayas and Mongolia to the Russian Far East, China, Japan, the Korean Peninsula, as well as Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam. It may also be present in northern Lao People's Democratic Republic but this needs to be confirmed. According to Samuelsson (Arkiv Bot. 24A, 7 (1932) distribution in the North American Continent is limited to the subsp. brevipes; generally A. plantago-aquatica which is now considered a single taxon.
Countries occurrence:
Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Andorra; Australia (South Australia); Austria; Belgium; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Burundi; China (Fujian, Gansu, Guangdong, Guizhou, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Sichuan, Xinjiang, Yunnan); Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Croatia; Czech Republic; Denmark; Egypt; Eritrea; Estonia; Ethiopia; Finland; France (Corsica, France (mainland)); Georgia; Germany; Gibraltar; Greece (East Aegean Is., Greece (mainland), Kriti); Hungary; India; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Ireland; Isle of Man; Italy (Italy (mainland), Sardegna, Sicilia); Japan; Jersey; Kenya; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Latvia; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Malta; Mongolia; Montenegro; Morocco; Myanmar; Nepal; Netherlands; Norway; Pakistan; Poland; Portugal (Portugal (mainland)); Romania; Russian Federation (Central European Russia, East European Russia, European Russia, North European Russia, Northwest European Russia, South European Russia); Rwanda; Serbia (Kosovo, Serbia); Slovakia; Slovenia; South Africa; Spain (Spain (mainland)); Sudan; Sweden; Switzerland; Thailand; Turkey; Uganda; Ukraine (Krym); United Kingdom (Great Britain, Northern Ireland); United States (Arizona, California, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Oregon, Wisconsin); Viet Nam; Zimbabwe
Additional data:
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Upper elevation limit (metres):2500
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


This species is widespread and abundant throughout its known range. There is no detailed information available on population size, though it will often form extensive and locally dominant stands in recently excavated pools on basic clays.

Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

A. plantago-aquatica is an amphibious and herbaceous perennial Helophyte. It occurs mainly in lowlands (though in Ethiopia it grows to altitudes of 2500 m) and will grow in most mesotrophic to eutrophic wetland types, from the margins of streams and rivers, to lakes, ponds and marshy pools, as well as some artificial habitats such as canals and rice fields. It is a good coloniser and will often form extensive and locally dominant stands in recently excavated pools on basic clays.

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:No

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

It is widely used as an ornamental plant for outdoor water features in northern Europe. Its root and leaves are used for medicinal purposes as an antibacterial, anticholesterolemic, diuretic, hypoglycaemic, and hypotensive in Viet Nam. Prolonged use as a diuretic may lead to gastro-enteritis.

The starch-rich rootstock is eaten in some countries. (

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

There are no known past, ongoing, or future threats to this species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are currently no conservation measures in place and or likely to be needed.

Classifications [top]

5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.2. Wetlands (inland) - Seasonal/Intermittent/Irregular Rivers/Streams/Creeks
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.4. Wetlands (inland) - Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands
suitability:Suitable  major importance:No
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.5. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha)
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.6. Wetlands (inland) - Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha)
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.7. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha)
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
15. Artificial/Aquatic & Marine -> 15.8. Artificial/Aquatic - Seasonally Flooded Agricultural Land
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:No
  Systematic monitoring scheme:No
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over part of range
  Occur in at least one PA:No
  Area based regional management plan:No
  Invasive species control or prevention:Unknown
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:No
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:No
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:No
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:No
  Included in international legislation:No
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:No

Bibliography [top]

Carter, S. 1960. Alismataceae. In: R.M. Polhill (ed.) (ed.), Flora of Tropical East Africa, pp. 1-15. Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Kew.

Conran J.G. 2012. The genus Alisma L. (Alismataceae) in South Australia. Journal of Adelaide Botanic Garden 25: 11-15.

Cook, C.D.K. 1996. Aquatic Plant Book. SPB Academic Publishing, Amsterdam/New York.

IUCN. 2017. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017-1. Available at: (Accessed: 27 April 2017).

Lye, K.A. 1997. Cyperaceae. In: Edwards, S., Demissew, S. and Hedberg, I. (eds), Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea Vol. 6: Hydrocharitaceae to Araceae., The National Herbaium, University of Addis Ababa, Addis Ababa.

Plants For a Future. 2010. Plants For a Future. Available at: (Accessed: 10/04).

Citation: Lansdown, R.V. & Beentje, H.J. 2017. Alisma plantago-aquatica. In: . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T164129A84275593. . Downloaded on 22 May 2018.
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