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Water hyacinth, is a distinctive floating plant that is suitable for indoor ponds and large open aquariums. It is also used as a summer plant in European garden ponds. Its size depends on the nutrients in the water and the light intensity. In open aquariums containing pure water it forms decorative miniature plants. It is now distributed all over the tropics and has become a menace, covering lake surfaces. In favourable conditions it forms an amazingly beautiful hyacinth-like flower.
Horsetail, Scouring Rush. Interesting oriental looking plant with leafless stems. Grows in continuously moist soil and tolerates full sun to partial shade. Great for containers, adding an unusual touch to your patio. Often grown in Japanese-style gardens, at the edge of ponds and in the margins of ornamental water gardens. Cold hardy to upper 20's.
The leaves have a quilted texture, although the stems, flowers, and leaves which float on the surface are covered in sharp prickles.
The plant is cultivated for its seeds in lowland ponds in India, China, and Japan.
Gunnera is one of the biggest and most spectacular, architectural, herbaceous plants, commonly thought of as 'giant rhubarb'. The plants need a lot of space because it is difficult to restrict their size. They look best standing as specimen plants in a damp bog garden, or beside a large pond where the reflections reveal the prickly undersides of the umbrella-sized leaves. The fat growth buds clustered in the crown are prone to frost damage, so pile the dead leaves and stems into a mound over the plants in autumn for winter protection - they make quite a feature of their own. Grow on in any good moist garden soil. Mulch the large crowns with the leaves in regions where winter temperatures are likely to drop below -5C (20F) A heavy mulch can help these plants survive -17C (0F).
Gunnera tinctoria is a large, clump-forming, herbaceous plant that grows up to 2m in height. It has stout horizontal rhizomes, and massive umbrella-sized leaves with an exotic tropical appearance. The leaves and their stems are covered in rubbery prickles. Tiny green flowers occur in early summer on conical spikes. The young leaf stalks can be peeled and cooked as a vegetable or eaten raw.
In severe winter conditions the plant dies down for the winter and grows new leaves in spring.