African Plant Database

Pistia stratiotes L.
Family : ARACEAE
Protologue : Sp. Pl. 2: 963 (1753)  
Information on the genus : Pistia
Status for MA : accepted (present)
Status for NA : accepted (naturalised-introduced)
Status for SA : accepted (naturalised-introduced)
Status for TA : accepted (indigenous)
Ecology and distribution
Trop. Afr.
Biology : Free-floating aquatic evergreen herb reproducing vegetatively by stolons, with a rosette of fan-shaped emergent leaves; blade to 14x8 cm, spathulate, obconic or oblong, dull green, covered with a dense felt of short stiff hairs which prevent them from getting wet, lower surface paler and more densely pubescent; 5-7 main nerves, prominently winged below; apex rounded to truncate; flowers obscure among the leaves; spathe inconspicuous, tubular, to 1,3 cm long, whitish-green, margins and outside fimbriate-pilose, flowers unisexual, minute; berries to 0,5-0,3 cm.
Ecology : Open, still freshwater, pools, slow-flowing streams; open swamps and lakes; backwater of rivers; sometimes in slightly brackish or polluted water; can form floating, sometimes moving, closed meadows to several hundred square meters; on inselbergs and coastal dunes; very invasive, troublesome in dams, rivers, irrigation furrows, etc., declared a pest in certain countries (S. Africa); forming the Lemno paucicostatae-Pistietum stratioitis community; river sides with Azolla, Nymphaea; lakes with Marsilea, Jussiaea repens; 0-1800 m alt.
  The plant is eaten in time of famine. In lagoons the plant multiplies exceedingly and harbours the larvae of malaria (Anopheles gambica), fide Burkill.
South. Afr.
Biol./Eco : perennial-Herb, Hydrophyte- Ht 0.03 - 0.12 m. Alt: 0 - 100 m. Distribution: BOT, NAM, EC, GA, KN, LP, NW

Bibliography for Tropical Africa :
  • Darbyshire, I. Kordofami, M. & al. (2015). The plants of Sudan and south Sudan, An annoted checklist. Kew Publishing

Bibliography for Southern Africa :
  • Ethnobotany of the Kwanyama Ovambos : 50 (1985).

Bibliography for North Africa :
  • HANSEN, A. & P. SUNDING (1993). Flora of Macaronesia. Checklist of vascular plants. 4. revised edition Sommerfeltia 17: 1-295
  • Fl. Egypt (Boulos) 4: 109 (2005).

Bibliography other :
  • Bouhache M. & A.Taleba (2013). La laitue d'eau, une plante exotique envahissante des eaux douces du Maroc. Agr. Maghreb 71: 100-103
More info on :
see under Jstor_African Plant Initiative
see under The Euro-Mediterranean Plant Base
see under Flore d'Afrique Centrale
see under Fgui
see under Germplasm Resources Information Network
see under The International Plant Name Index
see under Catalogue de Madagascar
see under Flora of Mozambique
see under African Plants - a Photo Guide
see under Missouri Botanical Garden
see under Flora of Zimbabwe
see under Herbarium, North Africa MPU
carte afrique num 33393
Record n°33393 modified 2007-04-02
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