Water-soldier

Water-soldier ©Dr Malcolm Storey

Water-soldier

Scientific name: Stratiotes aloides
Water-soldier grows submerged in ponds and open water, and pops up over summer, looking like the top of a pineapple! This rare plant displays white flowers and shelters many aquatic insects.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 5cm

Conservation status

Classified as Near Threatened on the Vascular Plant Red Data List for Great Britain.

When to see

January to December

About

The free-floating Water-soldier is a rare aquatic plant that can be found in ponds and still, open water, mostly in Central and Eastern England. It is also grown in garden ponds and often escapes. It grows beneath the water, staying submerged for most of the year. From June to August, it surfaces and flowers, displaying white blooms. Like other aquatic plants, it offers resting and sheltering places for aquatic insects like dragonfly and damselfly larvae.

How to identify

The stiff leaves of Water-soldier are spear-shaped and saw-edged, and form a rosette, looking a little bit like the top of a pineapple. A solitary, white, three-petalled flower arises from this rosette.

Distribution

Native plants confined to Eastern England; garden escapees more widespread.

Did you know?

Water-soldier mainly reproduces asexually in the UK, budding to produce three or four new plants each year. It can reproduce sexually, but almost all of our plants are female.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.