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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Family: Alismataceae

[= Limnocharitaceae]

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Monocotyledons > Order: Alismatales

About 12 genera and 81 species (mainly northern hemisphere in tropics and subtropics), with five genera and seven species native to southern Africa . In addition, there is one genus and species naturalised, and three genera and four species cultivated in southern Africa. Aquatic or marsh herbs.

Genera native to southern Africa

List from Plants of Southern Africa - an Online Checklist (SANBI) and Flora of Zimbabwe.


One species: Burnatia enneandra, native to tropical and southern Africa.

Butomopsis latifolia

One species native to southern Africa (Okavango delta, Botswana) - Butomopsis latifolia. Previously placed in Limnocharitaceae.


Four species (Europe, SE Asia, Australia and Africa), with one species, Caldesia reniformis, native to southern Africa (Okavango Delta).


Four species (tropical Africa, SE Asia and Australia), with two species, Lymnophyton obtusifolium and Lymnophyton angolense, native to southern Africa.


[= Wisneria]

Three species (SW India, tropical and subtropical Africa, Madagascar), with two species, Wiesneria schweinfurthii and Wiesneria filifolia (recorded from Zimbabwe), native to southern Africa

Genera naturalised in southern Africa

Informationi from Glen (2000) and Flora of Zimbabwe.


Nine species (northern hemisphere), with one species, Alisma plantago-aquatica (Common water-plantain), naturalised in southern Africa.

Other genera, cultivated in southern Africa

List from Glen (2002).


Echinodorus subalatus (Long-styled toadspoon), native from Mexico to Brazil, is cultivated in southern Africa. 

Hydrocleys nymphoides (Water poppy)

Native to tropical America. Previously placed in Limnocharitaceae.


Sagittaria lancifolia (native from USA to South America) and Sagittaria sagittifolia (Arrowhead; native to Eurasia), are cultivated in southern Africa.


  • Glen, H.F. 2000. Alismataceae. In: Seed Plants of Southern Africa (ed. O.A. Leistner). Strelitzia 10: 567-568 . National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.

  • Glen, H.F. 2002. Cultivated Plants of Southern Africa. Jacana, Johannesburg.