Tool components

Aquarium and Pond Plants of the World (APPW) is an identification tool containing at its core a Lucid interactive identification key (offered as a server-side application), along with many associated images and web pages. Each taxon in the key is linked to a fact sheet page of informational text and images. The fact sheets can also be accessed from the top menu. Each taxon in the key is also linked directly to at least one image. These images also appear, along with many others, in the fact sheets and in the gallery. An illustrative drawing or photo is attached to most of the states in the key's feature list. In addition, web pages containing these same illustrations, along with explanatory notes, are attached to all the features. Feature pages and state illustrations are only accessible from within the interactive key. A glossary of botanical and other terms is included, as well as information about terrestrial plants used in the pond plant trade (accessible from the About menu dropdown), a list of the aquatic plants on the United States federal noxious weed list with links to their fact sheets (accessible from the fact sheet index), and references used.

See the copyright, citation, and disclaimers page for information about use of tool content.


Fact sheet content

Genus name: APPW uses the most recently accepted taxonomic names for plants, mostly following those used by Cook (1996) and Kasselmann (2003), as well as the IPNI and TROPICOS websites. Note that within the trade incorrect, invalid, or taxonomically unaccepted plant names are often encountered.

Common name: One to several common names are given; not a comprehensive list.

Could be confused with: Other genera that may look similar are listed alphabetically.

Native distribution: Worldwide in scope, this topic provides the native distribution mostly at the continental or biogeographic region level, and focuses primarily on the distribution of the aquatic members of the genus (not just those in the trade).

Species commonly cultivated: This topic lists species (in alphabetical order) within the genus commonly sold in the aquarium and pond plant trade. Species names follow those from the same references as listed in the Genus name topic. As mentioned above, because this trade is highly dynamic, this list of species may not be comprehensive.

Adventive distribution: As with Native distribution, this topic is worldwide in scope, and gives adventive (not native to the environment) distribution mostly at the continental or biogeographic region level, focusing on the distribution of the aquatic members of the genus (not just those in the trade) or of one to several selected species.

Weed status: Information about weediness or quarantine status, and/or weed regulations covering the genus or one to several selected species may be given. Although this topic is international in scope, it is not necessarily comprehensive.

Habit: This topic covers a plant's general appearance or characteristic form (e.g. shrub, herb, stem plant) and its relation to water (e.g. emergent, floating), for the aquatic species in the genus.

Brief description: Selected characters are used to briefly characterize the entire genus or only the aquatic members of the genus; not a complete diagnosis. For some taxa, remarks about morphological differences between some species is given here or in Additional comments (see below).

Habitat: Describes the natural environment or place where the aquatic species in the genus are usually found.

Additional comments: Content of this topic varies; it may describe taxonomic or nomenclature issues, morphological features and differences, or other items of interest.


The images presented illustrate, for each genus, some or all of the following (depending on availability of specimens or images): submersed, emersed, or other growth forms, habit, vegetative growth, inflorescences and flowers or reproductive organs, close-ups of certain morphological features, and representative cultivars and species. The images may be line drawings, color plates, or photographs.

Images were chosen to be representative of the aquatic members in the trade in each genus. They illustrate some or all of the species listed in the Species commonly cultivated topic. For some genera, images of additional species not listed in Species commonly cultivated are displayed; these are useful for comparison purposes.