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Common Name: Eel Grass
Vallisneria spiralis is a Evergreen Perennial
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine
Southern Europe, north to France south to the tropics. Naturalized in Britain[
Still and flowing water[
]. In Britain it is found in ponds that are heated by the effluent from mills[
A water plant for a large aquarium or for deep water outdoors[
], it prefers slightly acid conditions in a sunny position[
This species is not very hardy in Britain, though it should succeed outdoors in the mildest areas of the country[
A valuable water oxygenator[
The leaves can be up to 1 metre long[
Dioecious, male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Male flowers are produced below the surface of the water and females are produced on the surface. Fertilization takes place when male flowers break off the plant, float to the surface and fall into a slight depression formed by the female flowers on the surface of the water[
Young leaves - raw[
]. The dried leaves contain 14.1% ash, 1154mg calcium, 3205mg phosphorus and 141mg iron per 100g[
The plant is aperitif, demulcent, refrigerant, stomachic and is also used in the treatment of women's complaints[
The plant is used in the treatment of leucorrhoea[
] and is made into a tea with Sesame (Sesamum indicum) to improve the appetite[
Seed - we have no information on this species but suggest sowing the seed in a warm greenhouse as soon as it is ripe. Lay the seed on the surface of a pot of soil and immerse this in water. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in water in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Division of rooted runners in the growing season.