Acacia lacustris (Willd.) Desf.
Desmanthus lacustris Willd.
Desmanthus natans Willd.
Desmanthus stolonifer DC.
Mimosa aquatica Pers.
Mimosa lacustris Bonpl.
Mimosa lacustris Kunth
Mimosa natans L.f.
Mimosa natans Vahl
Mimosa prostrata Lam.
Neptunia natans (L.f.) Druce
Neptunia plena Lindl.
Neptunia prostrata (Lam.) Baill.
Neptunia stolonifera Guill.
Common Name: Water Mimosa
Flowering plant, floating in the water by the aid of its spongy swollen stems
Photograph by: Tony Rodd
Neptunia oleracea is a common floating or prostrate plant in still and slowly moving water and by the water's edge. There is a rooted land form which has smaller leaves and flowers, and has no spongy floating tissue[
]. The plant has a thick taproot, up to 150 cm long, and rarely branched stems[
A common ingredient of Thai cuisine, the plant is cultivated in some tropical areas of Asia for its edible leaves and young shoots[
Neptunia oleracea is widespread and abundant throughout its known range. Populations are enhanced by cultivation and it may be established as an invasive in some areas. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
Tropical regions of Africa, southeast Asia, Australia and S. America.
Free-floating in slow-moving, still or stagnant water, often as a weed of irrigation channels[
].A common floating plant in and around fresh water ponds, swamps and canals, at low elevations up to 300 metres[
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
A plant of the hot and humid, lowland tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 300 metres[
]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 25 - 35Â°c, but can tolerate 15 - 38Â°c[
]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about 5Â°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,500 - 2,000mm, but tolerates 1,000 - 4,000mm[
Succeeds along the muddy edges of water or in still or slowly-flowing water. The plant prefers 30 - 80 cm depth of slow-moving water, and a position in full sun[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 6.5, tolerating 4.5 - 7[
A fast-growing plant, under favourable conditions young shoots may elongate at a rate of 5 - 7cm per day[
A perennial plant, but it is sometimes treated as an annual in cultivation. Its cropping period is 4 - 6 months[
Yields of 30,000 - 50,000 shoots per hectare for each harvest have been reported[
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
Floating leaves and stems - raw or cooked[
]. Crisp and juicy, they are used in salads, cooked as a potherb and used in sour vegetable salads[
Young seedpods - cooked[
The root is used as an external remedy for necrosis of the bones of the nose and hard palate[
]. The root is used in the advanced stage of syphilis[
The juice of the stem is squeezed into the ear to cure earache[
Cuttings - these are usually obtained by simply dethatching pieces of stem that have already rooted into the water[
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