Search Indigenous Plant Attributes

Searching for plants with the Ponds and dams attribute.

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  1. Aponogeton distachyos

    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.



  2. Nymphaea nouchali

    Nymphaea nouchali is a hardy, deciduous waterlily.

    It has glossy, circular, floating leaves that turn lovely colours in autumn.

    The flowers are a beautiful sky blue through pale lilac to pink flowers with masses of yellow stamens in the centre. These are carried on longish stems above the surface of the water from September to May.

    This is a submerged plant that should be planted to a depth of no less than 25cm in sun or light shade.

    Used in traditional medicine for coughs and colds.

    In habitat the fruit is eaten by the Purple Gallinule.


    Size: Floating parts spread to 1m diameter

  3. Chironia laxa

    Chironia laxa is a hardy, evergreen, many-branched, low-growing, rounded shrublet with slender, linear little leaves.

    This delightful plant bears an abundance of satiny, bright pink flowers with centrally-massed, yellow stamens from November to March.

  4. Rhus pyroides

    Rhus (Searsia) pyroides is a very hardy, deciduous, drought-resistant tree that tolerates extreme conditions of drought and cold and makes a wonderful pioneer.

  5. Nymphoides indica

    Nymphoides indica is a semi-deciduous, floating plant with rhizomes and long, slender stems ending in almost circular leaves floating flat on the surface of the water.

    From October to May it has abundant, small, fluffy, yellow flowers at the edge of each leaf and is a pretty sight floating on the surface of a pond.

    It is also suitable for a very small pond.

  6. Cyperus prolifer

    Cyperus prolifer is a hardy, evergreen, small sedge. Each green stem is topped by a cluster of grass-like flower spikelets.

    These very decorative stems can be used in flower arrangements. An attractive little plant that is ideal for planting in a small pond or wet area.

    Helps to filter and keep water clean and healthy.Will gradually colonise a wet area through the repeated emergence of adventitious shoots.

    Plant in sun or semi-shade.

    Size: 30 to 40cm

  7. Typha capensis

    Typha capensis is a very hardy reed that can be either evergreen or deciduous depending on local climate.  It is robust, fast-growing and is widespread.  It only grows partially submerged in water. It has long, grey-green stems with blue-green leaves.

    From December to January, the stems end in the typical, cylindrical, velvety brown ‘Bulrush’ flower. These turn into seeds covered in ‘cotton wool’ which helps with dispersal of seeds.

    This ‘cotton wool’ is used to stuff cushions.

    It has many traditional and medicinal uses.

    The Bulrush can be used in boggy areas, among wet pebbles and is one of the best plants to clean grey water. It helps to keep pond water clean and healthy. It is used extensively for the rehabilitation of wetlands and other permanently wet areas. This plant creates vital habitat for many bird species, fish fry, frogs, terrapins and many other aquatic creatures.

    This plant spreads quite aggressively by its rhizomes and should only be planted in containers in garden ponds where it can be controlled.

    Plant in full sun and prune and clean once a year.

    Size: 1 to 2.5m

  8. Schoenoplectus corymbosus

    Schoenoplectus corymbosus is a hardy, evergreen, robust, reed-like, fast-growing sedge that grows partially submerged in water.

    From September to April, the long, tough, green, flowering stems are tipped with golden-brown flowers.

    This attractive sedge is extensively utilised for mat and basket weaving.

    This is a wetland plant that will add a feeling of authenticity when planted on the edges of a pond. It can also be used in boggy areas, among wet pebbles and in grey-water systems.

  9. Juncus inflexus

    Juncus inflexus is a very hardy, evergreen, tufted, perennial rush with stiff, erect, grey-green stems.

    In spring and summer, brown, dry, scaly flowers are crowded at the tips of these stems. The little seeds that follow the flowers are reddish to golden brown.

    This rush is used traditionally to weave baskets.

    This is a wetland plant that will add a feeling of authenticity when planted on the edges of a pond. It can also be used in boggy areas, among wet pebbles and in grey-water systems.

    Plant in full sun and prune and remove dead stems once a year.

    Size: up to 1m

  10. Aristea ecklonii

    Aristea ecklonii is hardy, evergreen, clump-forming, perennial bulbous plant with narrow, strap-like, slightly pleated leaves that are carried in a fan.

    It bears flowering stems of amazing pale to deep mauve-blue flowers from August to March. There is a white flowered form grown at Random Harvest nursery (see gallery of pictures).

    It requires morning sun as the flowers open in succession early in the day and close in the afternoon. 

    It grows best in moist conditions near ponds or well-watered areas.

  11. Cyperus alternifolius flabelliformis

    Cyperus alternifolius subsp. is a hardy, evergreen, medium-sized sedge that forms large clumps.Long, green stems are topped with a circle of flat green bracts.

    The clusters of brown flowers stand out above the green bracts in summer.Attracts many birds such as Weavers, Waders and other water birds. Ideal for water edges, wetland gardens and the cleaning of grey water.

    Remove the dead stems regularly to keep it looking neat.This Cyperus is a fast spreader and the rhizomes will cover an area rapidly.

    (It may need to be thinned out periodically.)Plant in sun or semi-shade.

    Size: up to 1,3m