This attractive wetland plant has lily-like basal leaves and thin, continuously dividing stems bearing delicate white, pale pink or lilac flowers that open in late afternoon, and close again at dusk. It is a semi-aquatic or aquatic plant that is unrelated to true plantains, which are members of the genus Plantago. Alisma is the ancient Greek physician Dioscorides’ name for a plantain-leaved plant and the specific epithet, 'plantago' is from the Latin for the sole of a foot, referring to the flat leaves.
For best results, sow seeds onto a good soil-based compost. Cover the seeds with fine grit or compost to approximately their own depth. They can be sown at any time, and although germination can be quicker if kept at 15 to 20 degrees C, we sow most seeds in an unheated greenhouse and wait for natural germination as many seeds wait for spring before emerging regardless of when they are sown. Spring sowing will obviously give them a full season of growth. Grow small plant on in permanently damp compost.
Common name:Water plantain, Mad-dog weed