Vegetative Propagation

This is the most common method of propagation used by aquarium hobbyists and is also used at the commercial level. Some species of aquatic plants are commonly reproduced by rhizome runners (Cryptocoryne, Vallisneria) or by root runners (Sagittaria). In Echinodorus this is" relatively rare and is found only in the smallest species, E. quadricostatus and E, tenellus. Vegetative reproduction in Echinodorus is most commonly through the development of new plants on the floral stalk, where rooting plantlets arise in the axil of the flower petioles. The same process is found in the "viviparous" species of Aponogeton.

Numerous species of aquatic plants can be propagated by cuttings or by fragments of the plant body that can take root and continue growing. This is common in plants of the genera Ludwigia, Elodea, Ammania, Alternanthera, and many others which sprout new branches from the axillary buds at each separate internode of the stem. In some plants this ability is so strongly developed that even torn leaves or their fragments may take root, as in Hygrophila polysperma and Bacopa amplexicaulis.

A further source of vegetative reproduction lies in the rhizomes of numerous species. If they are separated from the parent plant, new plants will develop from the dormant buds on them and become separated in the course of time. This is most useful in plants with a cylindrical rhizome that is long and creeping, such as Anubias, Acorus, and some Echinodorus (E, osiris).

In perennial plants without the typical cylindrical rhizome new plants will develop around the perimeter of a globular woody rhizome if it has been plucked out of the sand and left underwater in the light. This method is useful with Echinodorus berteroi, among others.

The rhizomes of some perennial plants can also be divided into 2 to 6 parts, each of which is able to continue growing independently. This is possible with most of the plants in the family Araceae, with Aponogeton species, and with all larger species of Echinodorus. In some perennial water plants the rhizome cannot be divided, for either the plant is entirely destroyed or only a single part of the divided rhizome will grow, that on which the single growing point has remained. Nuphar and Nymphaea are this way.

Since with few exceptions vegetative reproduction does not require any special professional knowledge and often occurs spontaneously without intervention of the aquarist, the few problems encountered occasionally will be discussed only with the descriptions of the exceptional species.

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