Aponogeton distachyos

Aponogeton distachyos

Common Names

Waterblommetjie; Wateruintjies (afrikaans)
Cape Pondweed (english)

Taxonomy

Family APONOGETONACEAE
Genus Aponogeton
Species distachyos
SA Plant Number
Basionym Aponogeton distachyos

Description

Aponogeton distachyos is a fast growing aquatic herb with glossy oblong leaves that float on the waters surface. 

Sweetly scented, edible flowers stand up out of the water above the leaves, attracting attention. The flower is interesting in that it is a forked inflorescence bearing tiny, white, one-petalled flowers with brown anthers.

Bees are very attracted to the flowers and may be one of the main pollinators. Waterblommetjies flower in profusion during winter and spring. Large areas of water in the Western, Southern and Eastern Cape are covered with their sweetly scented, white flowers.

An excellent plant for ponds and dams, although where growing conditions are good, it needs cutting back and splitting to keep it from taking over. Rhizomes can be lifted in autumn and divided. Replant them immediately in good soil, in shallow water, and as they begin to grow in summer they can be moved into deeper water.

Plant in pots, in good soil, and place in full sun to partial shade for some of the day.

This is a well known local delicacy for the cold winter months. It has become so popular that many commercial plantings have been made in ponds around the western Cape. Cooked with onions, mutton or lamb and a few leaves of the local sorrel/suring (Oxalis pes-caprae), it makes a delicious stew.



Wildlife

Uses

Medicinal:
Juice from the fresh stems is traditionally used to treat sunburn, abrasions and burns.
Livestock:

Goats and pigs can be fed on the stems of Waterblommetjies.

Food:
Apart for the well known edible flowers, The Khoi and San people ate the starchy rhizomes.

Distribution

South Western Cape
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