Limnophila hippuridoides

Aquarium suitability: yes
Usage: Accent (red), Background, Midground
Difficulty: medium
Growth: fast
Range and localities: 

Malaysian peninsula (Malakka)

Trader names [?]: 
  • Limnophila hippuroides gratiola sp.

Misapplied names: 
  • Limnophila aromatica
  • Gratiola officinalis

Habit, plant type:

  • stem
Botanical name [?]: Limnóphila hippuridoídes Philcox

Major group (unranked): Seed plants: Flowering plants (Angiosperms)
Order: Lamiales
Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Limnophila


Limnophila hippuridoides is a marshweed found under various names in trade for several years: "Limnophila aromatica", "L. aromaticoides", "L. hippuroides" (incorrectly written) and even "Gratiola officinalis" (a totally different species). L. hippuridoides is native to the Malayan peninsula (Malakka). It is closely related to L. aromatica and L. aromaticoides. In botanical literature it has hitherto been treated as species in its own right. It mainly differs from the other two species in flower and fruit characteristics, however, there are also some differences to be observed in the submersed forms (according to Kasselmann 20101):

- Limnophila aromatica: 2-3 leaves per stem node, of variable colour, reddish hues or green (very variable species).

- Limnophila aromaticoides (often treated as synonym of L. aromatica): 3-8 leaves per stem node, overall plant colour is exclusively light green

- Limnophila hippuridoides: 6-8 leaves per stem node, colour reddish to intensively dark red.
Similar to both other species, crushed leaves of L. hippuridoides smell more or less distinctly aromatic.

References and further reading:
  1. Kasselmann, Christel (2010): Aquarienpflanzen. 3rd edition. - DATZ Aquarienbuch, Ulmer Verlag: p. 402.
Light high 
Temperature tolerance 15 to 30 °C
Optimum temperature 22 to 27 °C
Carbonate hardness 2 to 12 °dKH
pH value 6 to 7.5 
Carbon dioxide (CO2) 20 to 40 mg/l
Nitrate (NO3-) 10 to 50 mg/l
Phosphate (PO43-) 0.1 to 3 mg/l
Potassium (K+) 5 to 30 mg/l
Iron (Fe) 0.01 to 0.5 mg/l

Growth: fast

Propagation: Cuttings

Can grow emersed?: yes

Suited for outdoor cultivation / ponds: unknown

Winter hardiness: not hardy in Germany


Light is the most important aspect for successfully cultivating L. hippuridoides, however, its nutrient and CO2 requirements should not be underestimated. The injection of CO2 into the tank and sufficient levels of nitrate, phosphate and micronutrients are necessary. Especially iron is of utmost importance for colour intensity and good growth. A nutrient-rich substrate (e.g. ADA Aquasoil) will speed up growth, as this species tends to develop an ample root system. A low nitrate level or a phosphate surplus will usually cause the plant to develop a very intensive colour.
If allowed to reach the water surface, L. hippuridoides tends to form emersed leaves. The plant can also be cultivated totally emersed on a moist substrate, e.g. loam. Under lots of light it may then grow beautiful violet flowers.

L. hippuridoides is best propagated with top shoot cuttings, however, another possibility is to sow the seeds on wet loam. Make sure to plant the cuttings you took of this large stem plant in a way that they don't shade off each other. Trimming the top shoot leads to a bushy growth habit as the plant throws many lateral shoots then.

Aquascaping: very colourful plant for accents

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Under lots of light this marshweed assumes a stunning dark red colour, which makes it an attractive and very effective focal point in an aquascape layout for a large tank. L. hippuridoides is best placed before a dark background or as contrast against small-leaved light green plants. It can also look exceptionally nice against a backdrop of Vallisneria spp.

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Wasserpflanzen sind ein fester Bestandteil der meisten Aquarien. Beim Aquascaping, dem Naturaquarium, Biotop-Aquarium oder dem Gesellschaftsaquarium sind Wasserpflanzen nicht nur für die Wasserqualität entscheidend, sondern sorgen auch stets für eine optische Aufwertung des Aquariums.