With its very narrow leaves growing in two lines Murdannia keisak looks very much like a grass, however, it truly belongs to the family of Commelinaceae, like the well-known houseplants of the genus Tradescantia or the "Golliwoog" plant (Callisia repens). Most of the 50 species in the genus Murdannia are terrestrial plants, like e.g. M. loriformis, which is used as a medicinal herb. Murdannia keisak is one of the few bog and aquatic plant species in that genus.
M. keisak is widely distributed in the warmer regions of Asia, however, it has also been introduced into the south-east of the USA, probably with rice seeds. There it spreads continuously. It has also been introduced into Italy. This plant grows in a diversity of moist places, like road ditches, river banks and lakeshores, bogs and, first and foremost, rice paddies. Its stems float in the water just under the surface, whereas its shoot tips grow above it. As terrestrial plant it has a creeping growth habit.
It has not long been know that M. keisak is suitable as totally submersed aquarium plant. Right now it is mainly cultivated by hobbyists in Asia and the USA, in Europe it is still very new and hardly known.
To be continued...
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