Rotala ramosior

Lowland Rotala

Aquarium suitability: yes
Usage: Background, Midground
Difficulty: medium
Growth: medium
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Availability [?]: 
  • rarely or not available commercially
  • rarely or not available from other aquarists

Common names: 
  • Lowland Rotala
  • Toothcup

Habit, plant type:

  • stem
Botanical name [?]: Rotála ramósior (L.) Koehne

Major group (unranked): Seed plants: Flowering plants (Angiosperms)
Order: Myrtales
Family: Lythraceae
Genus: Rotala


Rotala ramosior is the only Rotala originating from the USA. There are two more species growing in the wild there (R. rotundifolia and R. indica), but both have been introduced from Asia. R. ramosior is found in wetlands in large parts of North America, emersed as well as submersed, its area of distribution stretchting as far north as Ontario.
Hobbyists in the USA have discovered that this plant they collected in nature can be kept in aquaria. It is not yet in trade, and even in its area of origin there only a few hobbyists who have this extraordinarily large Rotala in cultivation. Outside the USA, it has not been introduced to the hobby at all yet.

There is a plant in trade that is sold under the name Rotala ramosior, Rotala sp. 'Sunset' or Ammannia sp. "Sulawesi". This plant has red submersed leaves, but is likely a variant of R. ramosior, too. The submersed leaves of the North American R. ramosior are green.

R. ramosior is easy to care for, given that its relatively high requirements are met. In its natural habitats, it is always found in full sun, which needs to be considered when choosing its location in an aquarium. It should never be in the shade of another plant. T5 tubes or metal halide lamps are recommendable. Except for ample levels of CO2 and iron, it has no special nutrient requirements. The emersed form adapts to submersed life quite easily, and once it grows in the submersed form, growth slows down. The plant can be propagated by cuttings of lateral shoots, but those grow quite slowly, too.

R. ramosior may not be as brightly coloured as many other Rotala species, but its attractive growth habit gives it a subtle beauty and makes its cultivation definitely worth the while. A population of a few stems, most preferrably an uneven number, looks phantastic in the middle- or background of an aquarium and contrasts beautifully against red and/or fine-leaved plants.

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