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Illinois Native Plant Guide - Common Water Plantain - Pages 32-33

Illinois Native Plant Guide

Common Water Plantain
Alisma subcordatum

Preferred Water Depth and Inundation Tolerance

Prefers 0-6 inches, shallow marsh (Max: 20”/Min: 0”). Species tolerates periodic inundation of short duration. Found in mudflat and shoreline areas that dry up by the end of the season.

Wildlife Value

Achenes are eaten by waterfowl, songbirds, pheasants and rodents. Plants provide shade for fish. Leaves are sometimes eaten by rabbits and deer.


Used in upper and lower shoreline zones, for streambank stabilization, and in vegetated swales.

Availability, Establishment, and Maintenance

  • Achenes, transplants, and rootstocks are available from commercial vendors. Abundant achene production, approximately 144,000 per plant.
  • Achenes require scarification to break dormancy which can be done with sandpaper. May require oscillating temperatures in moist (underwater) conditions and/or light for germination.
  • Good plant establishment occurs when fresh achenes are broadcast in wet mudflats or around shorelines in the fall as this provides these treatments naturally.
  • Achenes retain viability when stored in water under cold temperatures for 6 months.
  • Rootstocks and transplants may be planted 2-5 inches deep in soil at a spacing determined by project design.
  • This species is present and viable in the seedbank found in many hydric (wetland) soils.

Common Water Plantain
Alisma subcordatum

MatureCommon Water Plantain Height
4 inches - 3.3 feet

Plant Type
Perennial emergent herb

Indicator Status


Nutrient Load Tolerance

Salt Tolerance

Siltation Tolerance

Flowering Color and Time
May to September

Light Preference
Full sun

Seeding Rate
.06 - .5 lbs/acre

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