Water Plants in India

Water and swamp plants make up less than 1 percent of the world's approximately 400,000 plant species, according to the Aqua World Network website. Among them are species native to India that now flourish in many other parts of the world, too. In India, selected varieties of water plants grow naturally along river banks and in rice paddies. They are among the 500 to 1,000 or so water plants that do well when transferred to aquariums or terrariums.

Water Hyacinth

The floating water hyacinth (Eichornia crassipes) grows as easily indoors as it does outdoors. Give it a home in a large, clear glass bowl, and its purple roots will be part of its natural beauty. The water hyacinth can reach heights of 3 feet or more. Its tubular, six-petal blue to violet flowers form on a terminal spike. Occasionally, the flowers are white. Usually, one of the petals has a yellow mark. The water hyacinth is a member of the Pontederiaceae or pickerelweed family.

Prickly Water Lily

The prickly water lily (Euryale ferox) is among India's native herbs. Gorgon plant and fox nut are among its other common names. It has large, heavily-veined flat leaves that measure about 5 feet in diameter and are dark purple on the underside. The cup-shaped flowers are particularly attractive, showcasing a deep violet color with an external row of white petals. The blooms usually open by day, under water. Beware of the leaves, which are laden with surface thorns and sharp spines. The prickly water lily is a member of the Nymphaeaceae or water lily family.

Water Snowflake

True to its name, Nymphoides indica looks like a water snowflake. This perennial and fast-growing water plant exhibits lacy-edged white petals with yellow centers that bloom in the summertime. The floating leaves are round and flat and shaped like hearts, hence the plant's other common name of "floating hearts." Although they have the appearance of water lilies, water snowflakes are, in fact, part of the Menyanthaceae or Bogpea family.

Sensitive Water Plant

The sensitive water plant, also called water mimosa or garden puff (Neptunia oleracea), is a member of the Fabaceae or pea family. As its name suggests, the leaves of this creeping plant close immediately when touched. It has yellow flowers that bloom especially profusely in full sun to partial shade. The sensitive water plant is one among three aquatic plants in the Neptunia genus which comprises 11 different species.

Keywords: India's water plants, prickly water lily, sensitive water plant

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Maureen Katemopoulos has been a freelance writer for more than 25 years. Her articles on travel, the arts, cuisine and history have appeared in publications such as "Stanislaus Magazine," "Orientations," "The Asia Magazine" and "The Peninsula Group Magazine." She holds a Baccalaureate degree in journalism from Stanford University.