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Plant of the week: Pistia stratiotes

In the past few days I have encountered mussel flowers twice: in the nursery Baumann and then in the preparation of the September excursion to the Erft. Did you know that she is a medicinal plant? My plant of the week.

The Pistia is a globally distributed floating plant. It absorbs large amounts of nutrients from the water and grows very fast. That is why it is quite useful as a plant for ponds and aquariums.
It reproduces very quickly if its conditions are right and has spread throughout the world in the tropics and subtropics, where it grows well, especially in nutrient-rich waters. Also in Central Europe we can find it in some places as a Neophyten: f. e. in Hungary in the region around Heviz, in Austria in Villach and in Germany at the river Erft. The prerequisite for their long-term survival in these areas is that warm water from thermal springs or mines is introduced there, which warms the water of the rivers and ditches the whole year.

The Pistia, also known as water lettuce, has been partially processed by the pond and aquarium plant trade. But it was already known in antiquity from the Mediterranean to India as a medicinal plant. Above all, the crushed plant is used against skin diseases and superficial injuries, but also against cough and asthma.

More information about this fascinating floating plant can be found at Heimbiotop.