|Practical ecological knowledge for the temperate reader.|
Family: Alismataceae (Water-plantain family)
"Alisma plantago-aquatica is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.9 m (3ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in flower from Jun to August, and the seeds ripen from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Flies.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers wet soil and can grow in water." [PFAF]
"This species is very similar to our native species of water-plantain. It may be separated by style and anther length and shape, petal and leaf shape, and achene morphology. Flower colour is usually pink or pinkish-purple while other species are white-flowered. See the key in Flora North America Online." [E-flora]
"European water-plantain is an introduced emergent wetland species found along stream lake and pond edges that is native to Eurasia. It is now found in North America in Washington, Alaska (USDA 2010) and British Columbia. In British Columbia, it is reported from several locations, mostly in the southern half of the province." [E-flora]
"According to the BC Conservation Data Centre (2010) data files "In the past, the native North American species were lumped with this taxon, either as the same species or as variety americanum or triviale... It does appear however that plants with pinkish petals and slightly different styles and anthers are inttoduced plants of the Eurasian A. plantago-aquatica." Plants are up to 1 m in height. Leaves are broadly ovate to broadly lanceolate, flowers and fruits appear in late summer (Flora North America Online 2010)." [E-flora]
Despite several monographs on Alisma the taxonomy and nomenclature of the above species still remains confused (see Reveal ).
"Shallow ponds, marshes and ditches in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; common in S BC south of 52degreeN; rare northward; E to NF and S to ME, VA, NE, NM, AZ and CA." [E-flora]
"Ditches, damp ground and shallow pond margins in water up to 15cm deep[13, 17, 24].Northern temperate regions of Europe, including Britain, Asia and America." [PFAF]
"The seed is said to promote sterility. By contrast it is also said to promote conception ." [PFAF] "Prolonged use may cause GI irritation and gastroenterosis (AHP). Doses 20–40 times higher than clinical dose hepatotoxic and nephrotoxic in rats (AHP).“Hazards and/or side effects not known for proper therapeutic dosages” (PH2) (but PH2 designates no specific quantified dosage! JAD). Rhizome, most often used as a diuretic, should not be used when there is a clear, thin vaginal discharge. May cause more than usual excretion of sodium and urea in healthy subjects (TMA). LD50 = >4 g/kg orl mouse (LMP)" [HMH Duke]
Though a highly valued folk herb in other parts of the world, Alisma plantagoaquatica appears to have had only a marginal presence in that capacity in the British Isles—and that only in Ireland.Apart from an unlocalised record of its use in the latter for a sore mouth,2 its juice has had a reputation in Londonderry as able to stop the spitting of blood.3[MPFT]
"Activities (Alisma) — Antidote, opium (f; WO2); Antipyretic (f; DAA); Astringent (f; GMH; LMP); Diaphoretic (f; DAA; GMH); Diuretic (2; DAA; FAD; GMH; WO3); Hemostat (f; GMH); Hepatoprotective (1; PEP; WO3); Hypocholesterolemic (f; PEP; PH2); Hypoglycemic (f; PEP; PH2); Hypotensive (1; PH2; WO3); Irritant (1; FAD); Lactagogue (f; LMP); Lipotropic (f; PEP); Litholytic (f; WO2); Natriuretic (f; PEP); Rubefacient (1; FAD); Sterilant (f; DAA); Stomachic (f; LMP); Tonic (f; LMP); Vulnerary (f; WO2)." [HMH Duke]
Select Indications (Alisma) — Bruise (f; FAD; GMH; WO2); Cancer (f; WO2);
Cancer, stomach (f; WO2); Diabetes (f; DAA; LMP); Dropsy (f; DAA;
LMP); Dysentery (f; GMH; WO2); Dysuria (1; DAA; FAD); Edema (1; DAA; FAD); Fever (f; DAA; GMH); Gastrosis
(f; DEM; WO2); Gravel (f; FAD; GMH); High Blood Pressure (1; PH2; WO3); HighCholesterol (f; PEP; PH2); Hyperglycemia (f; PEP; PH2); Leukemia (f; WO2); Stone (f; DAA; WO2);
Swelling (f; DAA; FAD; GMH); UTI (f; PHR; WO3); VD (f; DAA; LMP); Water
Retention (2; DAA; FAD; GMH; WO3); Wound (f; FAD; WO2). [HMH Duke]
"Chinese Medicine: The drug is used to lower blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels; it is also used as a diuretic." [PDR]
Alisma plantago-aquatica L. - Alismataceae
Common names: Mud Plantain -- Tse-Hsieh -- Water Plantain -- Ze-Xie
"Succeeds in a sunny position in boggy ground or shallow water up to 25cm deep. Plants often self-sow aggressively when in a suitable position[1, 56]. The subspecies A. plantago-maritima orientale. Sam. is the form used medicinally in China. The subspecies A. plantago-maritima parviflorum (Syn A. parviflorum, A. subcordatum) is the form used medicinally in America. Plants are very attractive to slugs[K]." [PFAF]
Wildlife: "Young leaves may be eaten by some waterbirds, seed rarely." [Romanowski PWAD]
Remediation: Water plantain has "considerable water treatment potential as they respond rapidly to high nutrient levels" [Romanowski PWAD]
"Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Place the pot in about 3cm of water to keep the soil wet. Pot up the seedlings when large enough to handle and keep in the cold frame for the first winter, planting out in late spring. Division in spring or autumn. Fairly easy, the divisions can be planted straight out into their permanent positions." [PFAF]
"Seed has at least a three month dormancy period, and will germinate in shallow water but comes up more uniformly on waterlogged mud. It is reputed to lose viability within 12 months..." [Romanowski PWAD]
Alisma triviale . A. parviflorum. A. subcordatum. [PFAF]
Perennial herb; roots not septate; flowers bisexual. Leaf: blade linear to ovate, tapered to base or petioled, base tapered to truncate, rounded, or ± lobed. Inflorescence: peduncle generally smooth; pedicels < 45 mm in fruit. Flower: receptacle ± flat; sepals generally 1–4 mm; petals entire to ± cut, white or pink; stamens generally 6; pistils many, free, in 1 whorl on margin of ± flat receptacle. Fruit: body generally 1.5–3 mm, erect, generally strongly compressed, lateral walls opaque to translucent, abaxially thin-ridged; beak < body, generally lateral.
± 9 species: generally northern temperate. (Greek: ancient name) North American species need study.
Unabridged references: [Bjorkqvist 1968 Opera Bot 19:1–138] [Jepson]
1. Leaf blades broadly lanceolate to egg-shaped; petals usually white.............Alisma triviale
1. Leaf blades linear, lanceolate or narrowly lanceolate; petals pink, pinkish or white.
2. Inflorescence overtopping the leaves; petals 4.5-6.5 mm long, pink or sometimes purplish-pink..............Alisma lanceolatum
2. Inflorescence usually not overtopping the leaves; petals 2.5-3.5 mm long, pink or white.........Alisma gramineum [E-flora]
Major Constituents and Therapeutic Values of Chinese Medicinal Herbs (continued)[CRNAH]
|Scientific Name||Common Chinese
and (English) Name
(stem, root) Alisol A, alisol B, polysaccharide, alisol monoacetate, sesquiterpenes, triterpenes, glucan, epialisol A (essential oil).33,451,452,463,464
Lower hypercholesteremia, treat hypertriglyceride, immunologic activities, anticomplementary, antiallergic.
Synonyms: "Alisma plantago-aquatica L. var. orientale Sam., Alisma plantago-aquatica subsp. orientale (Sam.) Sam." [Wiart LC]
Habitat/Range: "This aquatic herb is found in the marshes, ponds, rivers and lakes of China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Mongolia, Russia, India, Nepal, Burma and Vietnam." [Wiart LC]
"In Japan the plant is used as a diuretic and to treat inflammation." [Wiart LC] "Rhizoma Alismatis, is the dry rhizome of Aiisma orienta/is (Sam.) Jrizep. (Alismataceae). This official herbal drug is used in traditional Chinese medicine as a diuretic in the treatment of oliguresis and edema. It is also used to treat hyperlipidemia." [Tang CDPO]
"The plant harbors a compelling array of protostane triterpenes: alisols A and B,...In addition, the plant manufactures the guaiane sesquiterpene alismol, alismoxide, orientalols A–C and D, alismoxide 10-O-methyl ether, orientalols E and F, alismorientols A and B, the germacrane sesquiterpenes germacrene C and D, the eudesmane sesquiterpene eudesma-4(14)-en-1β6α-diol and the kaurane diterpene 16R-(−)-kaurane-2,12-dione." [Wiart LC] "Six triterpenes were isolated from the rhizome of A. orientalis: alisol A (10-1), alisol A monoacetate (10-2) [1-3], alisol B (10-3), alisol B monoacetate (10-4) [1, 2, 4], alisol C monoacetate (10-5) , and epi-arisol A (10-6) ." [Tang CDPO]
"Pharmacological study of alisol B and derivatives for the treatment of cancer."
"Emerging evidence points to the fact that alisol-type protostane triterpenes are of chemotherapeutic value. Alisol B (CS 2.83) was cytotoxic to human ovary adenocarcinoma (SK-OV-3), murine melanoma (B16F10) and human fibrosarcoma (HT1080) cells,... Alisol B acetate (CS 2.84), alisol B and alisol A 24-acetate (CS 2.85) inhibited the survival of human breast adenocarcinoma (MCF-7) cells..." [Wiart LC]
"Alisol B acetate inhibited the growth of human prostate cancer (PC-3) cells,... Note that alisol B acetate is a strong antioxidant196 that probably reduces the level of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are chronically present in cancer cells..." [Wiart LC]
General: "Perennial aquatic herb from a corm-like stem-base and a fibrous root; stems 15-100 cm tall." [E-flora]
Habitat / Range "Pond margins, shorelines and ditches in the lowland zone; rare in SW BC, known only from the lower Fraser Valley; introduced from Europe." [E-flora]
Origin Status: Exotic [E-flora]