Saturday, April 23, 2011

Water Poppy

(pictured: Hydrocleys nymphoides from BotBln, Sept.2006, off Wikipedia)

The Water Poppy, or Hydrocleys nymphoides, is a tropical plant that only gets to two or two and a half inches tall and is an aquatic plant good for bog gardens, ponds, marshes, or water features. This flower will stand above the water line, creating wonderful visual stimulation in the garden. It is a floating aquatic, with yellow flowers that will bloom in the summer with red and brown centers. Their leaves are heart shaped, deep green, and shiny. There are interesting trailing stems to their style. The foliage is nice and the blooms have a bright punch to the water line.

Water Poppy Name Confusion
The water poppy family, Limnocharitaceae, is not recognized as a real family of plants by many taxonomists. Some do see the family of flowering plants and place it in the order of Alismatales in the class of monocots. This placement is from the APG II system of 2003 (plant classification from the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group), and the APG system of 1998. There are only about six aquatic plants currently in this class of plants. Water poppy is one of these that is the best known of this little known flower order.

How to Plant and Grow Water Poppy
Water Poppy plants will need to be planted between half a foot to a foot and a half, in full sun or partial shade in the landscape, and in the USDA hardy zones of seven to eleven. Although the plant will grow fine in those depths they prefer to be in shallower conditions. They need to be in continuously wet conditions, and do well in marshy locations.

Hydrocleys nymphoides is an easy maintenance plant that is also fast growing. Their yellow blooms with the reddish brown centers are cup shaped, and appear to be tea cups on the water. They are very good providers of shade for fish and other pond inhabitants, providing good cover. Their leaves are dark and shiny, growing to two to four inches long against the water. Even though the blooms are during the hot summer months, they can have a year round season in warm climates for their foliage.

Scientific Classification of Water Poppy
  • Kingdom Plantae – Plants
  • Subkingdom Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
  • Superdivision Spermatophyta – Seed plants
  • Division Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
  • Class Liliopsida – Monocotyledons
  • Subclass Alismatidae
  • Order Alismatales
  • Family Limnocharitaceae – Water-poppy family
  • Genus Hydrocleys Rich. – hydrocleys
  • Species Hydrocleys nymphoides (Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd.) Buchenau – water poppy


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