Wednesday, February 11, 2009

water lettuce (pistia stratiotes) in the wild

at this place in kranji where lotus plants grow in the wild, there are also other water plants growing among the lotus. all along i had known that the water convulus/water spinach, which we call kang kong, exists together with the lotus plants.

incidentally, the flowers of the water convulus resemble a lot the flowers of the morning glory; that's why i was not surprised when i read (in dr tay's ieatishootipost blog) that the thais refer to this plant as morning glory. water convulus has either white or purple flowers.

this morning, i decided to find out the extent of the stretch where lotus plants are found growing. i discovered that it actually ends abruptly, at a bend in the stream. beyond that, there is very little vegetation until you come to a confluence where lots of water hyacinth and the water convulus are growing freely.

invading the space where the lotus plants are growing are the water convulus and the water lettuce. i was first impressed by the beauty of the water lettuce when they are grown clustered together when i visited the hort park last year.

the water lettuce (pistia stratiotes) is a free floating plant with many spongy, dusty green simple leaves. the leaves are covered in fine hair and arranged in a spiral pattern from the centre of the plant. the flowers are said to be rather inconspicuous. i would say almost non-existent because i checked the whole area and could not find a single flower.

water lettuce has no known direct food value to wildlife and is considered a pest species.

later in the afternoon when i went back to the same place, i saw four adults, three women and one man, standing by the side of the 'lotus stream', each holding a plastic bag. after saying a short prayer, they let the content spilled into the stream. each of them had released about ten fresh water eels. now i know why there are clear plastic bags beside the stream.


Seen This Scene That said...

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yg said...

seenthisscenethat, thanks for the honour.

doris said...

they prayed for something good (for themselves) and left something bad (for the environment) behind.

nah said...

I have water lettuce in my aquariums to provide cover for fry and small fish. The feathery roots provide my livebearer fry with food to eat and places to hide from other voracious fish.
Normally a pond plant, water lettuce provides good cover for pond. It will deprive algae of nutrients and light, and thereby prevent massive algal blooms. Some goldfish and koi develop a taste for their roots. Water lettuce does provide variety in their diet and may be one reason outdoor fish develop brighter reds.

yg said...

ya, doris, it's a pity. some people who visit this place discard plastic bags and bottles, polystyrene containers and empty cigarette packs near the stream. eventually, these materials will end up in the water.

yg said...

mr nah, if you need to replensih the water lettuce in your fish tank, let me know. i can go there and harvest some and sell them to you.