Frog-spoon plants

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Frog-spoon plants
Common frog spoon (Alisma plantago-aquatica), illustration

Common frog spoon ( Alisma plantago-aquatica ), illustration

Department : Vascular plants (tracheophyta)
Subdivision : Seed plants (Spermatophytina)
Class : Bedecktsamer (Magnoliopsida)
Order : Frog-spoon-like (Alismatales)
Family : Frog-spoon plants
Scientific name

The frog-spoon plants (Alismataceae) are a family in the order of the frog-spoon-like (Alismatales) within the flowering plants (Magnoliopsida). Up to 100 species thrive in wet locations or in water.


Vegetative characteristics

The representatives of the frog-spoon family are rarely annual or usually perennial herbaceous marsh or water plants. They sometimes form rhizomes with endodermis and sometimes stolons . The plants contain milky sap . Plant parts are hairless or covered with simple, single-celled to star-shaped trichomes .

The stems are not chlorophyll-containing , short, upright and cormus-like . They branch sympodially . Remnants of the vascular bundles of withered petioles are often found along the stems. Often rhizomes are formed that occasionally end in tubers . The roots are located at the base of the stems or on the lower nodes .

The leaves float on the water or stand upright submerged. They are basal, sessile or stalked and stand in two rows, spiral-like in two rows, spiral-shaped or often in basal rosettes. The leaf stalks have a round to triangular cross section and have a leaf sheath without auricles at the base. The leaf blade is linear, lanceolate, egg-shaped or rhombic and may have translucent points or lines. The leaf margin is whole or wavy, the tip blunt, pointed or pointed or cut off in another shape. The base of the leaf blade is either tapered without a lobes or provided with cut lobes, arrow-shaped or spear-shaped. The vein consists of parallel main veins and reticulated secondary veins.

Inflorescences and flowers

Detail of an inflorescence with blossom in detail from Echinodorus floribundus (Syn .: Aquarius floribundus )

The over a inflorescence stem mostly upright or rarely floating inflorescences are traubig or quirlförmige branching panicle , rarely they are also doldig . They contain lively arranged bracts that are linear, with entire margins and blunt to pointed towards the front.

Flower diagram of the Alismataceae using the example of the grassy sword plant ( Helanthium tenellum ; Syn .: Echinodorus parvulus )

The flowers are hermaphroditic or unisexual, occasionally both on one plant ( subdiocyte ). If the flowers are unisexual, then the species can be monoecious ( monoecious ) or dioecious ( dioecious ) separately sexed. The flower stalks are very short to long.

The radial symmetrical flowers are threefold with a double flower envelope . The three green and durable sepals enclose the blossom and fruit or are spread out or bent back. The three white to pink, or sometimes yellowish, petals are delicate and are shed early. The nectar production may at the base of the petals to stamens or staminodes done.

There are one or two circles with three or more free stamens each, which are formed centrifugally or centripetally. The outer stamens can be reduced to staminodes. The stamens are relatively long. The dust bags fixed to the base or free-standing are turned outwards and open through longitudinal slits. The pollen grains are mostly pantoporate and prickly. There are three six to many free or deformed at its base carpels formed which are spirally arranged or irregularly in a circle. Each carpel contains one (rarely two) anatropic ovules located at the base , only in the genus Damasonium two or more ovules with marginal placentation are formed. The terminal or sideways stylus ends in a linear scar .

Fruits and seeds

The fruits standing together in groups or a circle are mostly nuts (achenes), rarely stone fruits or follicles that contain one to a few seeds . The fruit peel often has glandular hairs. The U-shaped seeds have a horseshoe-shaped embryo and, when mature, no endosperm .


The chromosomes are 2.4 to 14.4 µm long. The basic chromosome numbers given are x = 5–13, of which 7, 8 and 11 are the most common.

Distribution map of the Alismataceae family
Common hedgehog hose
( Baldellia ranunculoides )
Frogweed ( Luronium natans )
Common arrowhead ( Sagittaria sagittifolia )

Systematics and distribution

The Alismataceae family was established in 1799 by Étienne Pierre Ventenat in Tableau du Regne Vegetal , 2, p. 157. The type genus is Alisma L. The genera of the formerly independent family Damasoniaceae Nakai and water poppy plants (Limnocharitaceae Takht. Ex Cronquist ) are now assigned to the Alismataceae according to APG III.

The Alismataceae family is distributed almost worldwide, but especially in the northern hemisphere , mainly in tropical and subtropical areas.

The frog-spoon family contains 11 to 16 genera with 81 to 100 species:

  • Albidella Pichon (sometimes in Echinodorus ): it contained only one species until 2017; now four types:
  • Frog spoon ( Alisma L. , Syn .: Plantaginastrum Heist. Ex Fabr. ): The eleven or so species thrive in wetlands in the temperate to subtropical areas of the northern hemisphere and in tropical East Africa.
  • Aquarius Christenh. & Byng : The genus newly established in 2018 includes around 26 species, most of which have been separated from the genus Echinodorus or Alisma .
  • Astonia S.WLJacobs : It contains only one species:
  • Hedgehog hose ( Baldellia Parl. ): There are only three types:
  • Burnatia Micheli (Syn .: Rautanenia Buchenau ): It contains only one species:
  • Butomopsis Kunth (Syn .: Tenagocharis Hochst. ): It contains only one species:
    • Butomopsis latifolia ( D.Don ) Kunth : It occurs in tropical areas of North Africa, Asia and northern Australia.
  • Heart spoon ( Caldesia Parl. ): The approximately three to four species distributed in Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe, including:
    • Common heart spoon ( Caldesia parnassiifolia ( Bassi) Parl. ): It is found in Europe, Africa, Asia and northern Australia.
  • Damasonium Mill. (Syn .: Actinocarpus R.Br. , Machaerocarpus Small ): The five to six species are distributed from Western Europe across the Mediterranean to northwestern Iran and Siberia, the western USA and Australia.
  • Sword plants , also called hedgehog's hose ( Echinodorus Rich. Ex Engelm. ): The approximately 26 (up to over 60 species) are common in the New World . Numerous species have been classified by some authors into a genus Aquarius Christenh since 2018 . & Byng outsourced. Then the genus Echinodorus includes only one species:
  • Helanthium (Engelm. Ex Benth. & Hook.f.) JGSm. : There are about three species common in the New World:
  • Water poppy ( Hydrocleys Rich. , Syn .: Ostenia Buchenau ): The five or so Neotropical species are distributed from Mexico to Central and South America.
  • Limnocharis Bonpl. : It contains about two types:
    • Swamp love ( Limnocharis flava ( L. ) Buchenau , Syn .: Alisma flavum L. , Limnocharis emarginata Humb. & Bonpl. ): The original home is Mexico and tropical America. The species is a neophyte in many areas of the world, especially in Asia .
    • Limnocharis laforestii Duchass. ex Griseb. : It is widespread from Mexico to tropical America.
  • Limnophyton Miq. : The three or so species are common in tropical Africa and Asia.
  • Frogweed ( Luronium Raf. ): It contains only one species:
    • Frogweed ( Luronium natans ( L. ) Raf. ): It occurs only from Western Europe to Ukraine.
  • Ranalisma Stapf : The only two or so species are mainly found in Asia, but also in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa.
  • Arrowhead ( Sagittaria L. , Syn .: Diphorea . Raf , Drepachenia . Raf , Lophiocarpus ( Kunth ) . Miq . Nom illeg. Lophotocarpus T.Durand , Michelia T.Durand nom inval,.. Hydrolirion H.Lév. ): The around 39 species are distributed worldwide.
  • Wiesneria Micheli : The three or so species are distributed in tropical Africa to Botswana, Madagascar and southern India.


Individual evidence

  1. ^ RR Haynes, DH Les, LB Holm-Nielsen: Alismataceae. In: Klaus Kubitzki (Ed.): The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants . Volume 4: Flowering Plants. Monocotyledons. Alismatanae and Commelinanae (except Gramineae) . Springer, Berlin / Heidelberg / New York 1998, ISBN 3-540-64061-4 , pp. 11–19 (English, here: p. 14; family in the old scope).
  2. Angiosperm Phylogeny Group: An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG III. In: Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. Volume 161, No. 2, 2009, pp. 105-121, doi: 10.1111 / j.1095-8339.2009.00996.x .
  3. ^ A b c Alismataceae in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), USDA , ARS , National Genetic Resources Program. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
  4. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae Rafaël Govaerts (Ed.): Alismataceae. In: World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP) - The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew . Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  5. ^ Ligia Queiroz Matias, Geraldo Soares: Morphology and micromorphology of the seed coats of species of Echinodorus (Alismataceae) from Brazilian Northeastern. In: Boletim do Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi, Belém. Ciências naturais. Volume 4, No. 2, 2009, pp. 165–173, (PDF file; 461 kB). ( Memento of the original from December 22, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /

Web links

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