Christian Koch (2006)

Heteranthera zosterifolia


Aquarium suitability: yes
Usage: Background, Midground
Difficulty: easy
Growth: fast
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Availability [?]: 
  • frequently available commercially
  • frequently available from other aquarists

Common names: 
  • Stargrass

Habit, plant type:

  • stem
Botanical name [?]: Heteranthéra zosterifólia Mart.

Major group (unranked): Seed plants: Flowering plants (Angiosperms)
Order: Commelinales
Family: Pontederiaceae
Genus: Heteranthera


Heteranthera zosterifolia is a beautiful stem plant with bright green lanceolate leaves. In its country of origin, Brazil, it usually grows in stangant waters and swampy regions.

In the hobby, H. zosterifolia has been established for many years as a decorative plant for Dutch style aquaria as well as nature aquaria. Here it is used as contrasting plant in the fore-, the middle- and the background by simply cutting it to the desired height.

Known as star grass by vernacular name, this plant is a great water quality indicator. A lack of nitrogen (in the form of NO3) lets the leaves become transparent before they wilt. A lack of phosphorous (in the form of PO4) changes the plant's bright green into a darker hue.

H. zosterifolia is a relatively undemanding plant and grows well at medium light intensities without additional CO2 fertlisation. It attains its full potential, however, under strong lights and with CO2 fertilisation, then it shows lush, intensive growth and larger leaves. When allowed to grow out of the water it will often get nice blue flowers.

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