plant Easy level

Pistia stratiotes (L.)

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Pistia stratiotes is an aquatic plant first discovered in Africa, but with a wide native range which includes tropical and subtropical areas of the world. It has also been introduced to Alabama, Aruba, Bermuda, Canary Is., Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, New Caledonia, New York, Palestine, St.Helena, Turkey, Ukraine.

This is a floating plant, whose several roots reach the bottom in shallow waters. The flowers are usually hidden between the light green leaves forming a rosette covered in short hairs. On the water surface, it propagates, forming large colonies. In point of fact, it is considered an invasive plant, and it grows fast in waters with high nutrient content. However, it is very popular among aquarists and can be easily kept in a biotope aquarium.

Native to: Afghanistan, Andaman Is., Angola, Argentina Northeast, Assam, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Borneo, Botswana, Brazil North, Brazil Northeast, Brazil South, Brazil Southeast, Brazil West-Central, Burkina, Burundi, Cabinda, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Provinces, Caprivi Strip, Central African Repu, Chad, China South-Central, China Southeast, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, East Himalaya, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Florida, Free State, French Guiana, Gabon, Galápagos, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gulf of Guinea Is., Guyana, Hainan, Haiti, Honduras, India, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Jawa, Kenya, KwaZulu-Natal, Laccadive Is., Laos, Leeward Is., Lesotho, Liberia, Louisiana, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaya, Maldives, Mali, Maluku, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexican Pacific Is., Mexico Central, Mexico Gulf, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Northwest, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest, Mississippi, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nansei-shoto, Nepal, Netherlands Antilles, New Guinea, Nicaragua, Nicobar Is., Niger, Nigeria, Northern Provinces, Northern Territory, Pakistan, Panamá, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Queensland, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South China Sea, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sulawesi, Suriname, Swaziland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Texas, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad-Tobago, Uganda, Uruguay, Venezuela, Venezuelan Antilles, Vietnam, West Himalaya, Windward Is., Zambia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe.

Introduced into: Alabama, Aruba, Bermuda, Canary Is., Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, New Caledonia, New York, Palestine, St.Helena, Turkey, Ukraine.

Submitted by
Benedetta Spelta
11.1017771, 43.1649742
Geographical region
South America
Drainage Basin
São Francisco
River catchment
Water body type
Water body name
São Francisco
Water body part
Water body course
Water body: tributary of
Tributary name
Type locality
Nile, Lake Victoria, Egypt.
Conservation status/IUCN Red List
Least Concern (LC)
Listed in CITES

Water Chemistry

Water information

Water type
Fresh water
Water color
Clear water
Water transparency
Concentration of sediments
Water temperature
21-27 °C
Water flow/curent

Chemical parameters

Dissolved Oxygen


Plant form
Plant type
Plant size
25.5 cm
Plant growth rate
Plant light demand
Aquarium equipment

The tank should not have a strong current, as the plant can be moved or submerged by the flowing water. Pistia stratiotes is compatible with most fish, although larger ones, like cichlids, may damage it. It should not be paired with goldfish or any other large herbivore fish, as they tend to eat the plant .

Plant care

Pistia stratiotes is easy to care for. It requires removal of excess plants and yellow leaves and good access to nutrients. This plant does not do well in bright light, so, that should be introduced slowly and progressively.

Water care

In the biotope aquarium, water should be slow moving or with no current at all. The water should have a neutral pH and the temperature is to be maintaned between 21 and 27°C