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Common Name: Water Soldier
Stratiotes aloides is a perennial plant that can grow up to 1.00 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine..
Europe, including Britain, to northwestern Asia.
Broads, ponds and ditches in calcareous districts[
]. It is very local and probably diminishing[
A water plant, it requires a neutral to alkaline water[
]. The herb is submerged at most times of the year, rising to the surface only when it is flowering[
]. The leaves accumulate calcium carbonate and by the autumn this makes them heavy enough to sink to the bottom of the pond. The new leaves in spring do not have this calcium carbonate and so rise to the surface[
A vigorous-growing plant, it will tend to swamp out other plants when grown in a small pond[
Plants are dioecious, male and female plants must be grown if seed is required[
]. Only the female plant occurs naturally in Britain, though plants with hermaphrodite flowers are also found occasionally[
]. Seed is never set in Britain, the plants increasing mainly by offsets[
The herb has had a high reputation for treating wounds, especially when these are made by an iron implement. It is applied externally[
]. The plant is also said to be of use in the treatment of St. Anthony's Fire and also of bruised kidneys[
Seed - best sown in situ as soon as it is ripe. The seed is seldom if ever produced in Britain[
Division at almost any time of the year, though spring is best.