Thursday, April 14, 2011

American Frog's Bit

(Credit: Gerald J. Lenhard, Bugwood.org )


This spongy free floating aquatic plant is a favorite of many in a water garden setting. It is a member of the Tape grass family and is a spongeplant. It is a perennial that tends to grow free floating in the pond or water garden, but it can also be rooted if a marginal water plant is required. The foliage on American Frog’s Bit is spongy and round (or can be egg or heart shaped depending on growth). Blooms are tiny and white. Gardeners will find this to be a hardy plant from USDA zones of six to ten.

How to Grow and Use Frog’s Bit
American Frog’s Bit likes the water, so it’s going to be a good water plant or even marginal water plant. It will do its best in full sun environments and it has the ability to live as a rooted plant if the idea of it free floating isn’t in the design plan. The leaves on Limnobium spongia can get three or four inches wide. The white tiny nondescript flowers can be found both underneath the water’s surface and above, flowering from summer to the fall seasons. There are three petals on the flowers and three sepals, all on a stalk and not adding to the character and texture of the plant itself.

Moonlights as a Food Choice
As the plant dies it will be food for many water creatures as well as fish food. It is a habitat of different micro organisms that are eaten by ducks and amphibians, even by reptiles. The seeds from the plant can attract different water fowl to the feature too. The plant can house things that will eventually be food for other items in the garden, and then it will become food itself as it breaks down in the water.

Cultivation of American Frog’s Bit
If one would like to spread Limnobium spongia throughout the garden, it can be propagated by transplanting into shallow water sometime during the spring for best growth options. This needs to be done with as little stress to the plant as possible. It is a very fast spreader, by runners, and these can be transplanted parts.

Scientific Classification of American Frog’s Bit
  • Kingdom Plantae – Plants
  • Subkingdom Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
  • Superdivision Spermatophyta – Seed plants
  • Division Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
  • Class Liliopsida – Monocotyledons
  • Subclass Alismatidae
  • Order Hydrocharitales
  • Family Hydrocharitaceae – Tape-grass family
  • Genus Limnobium Rich. – spongeplant
  • Species Limnobium spongia (Bosc) Rich. ex Steud. – American frog’s bit

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