Bacopa

Scientific name

Bacopa Aubl.

Common names

water hyssop, herb of grace, brahmi

Family

Scrophulariaceae

Could be confused with

Lindernia, Lysimachia, Mayaca, Micranthemum, Myriophyllum (rarely), Rotala

Native distribution

tropical and subtropical regions of world, particularly America

Species commonly cultivated

Bacopa caroliniana (Walter) B.L. Rob. (North America) (B. amplexicaulis)

B. lanigera (Cham. & Schldl.) Wettst. (Brazil)

B. monnieri (L.) Pennell (pan-tropical)

B. myriophylloides (Benth.) Wettst. (Brazil)

Adventive distribution

information not available

Weed status

Native species of Bacopa (B. rotundifolia (Michx.) Wettst., B. monnieri and B. eisenii (Kell.) Pennell) are known to be weeds in rice crops in the United States.

Habit

terrestrial, amphibious or obligately aquatic stem plant

Brief description

Annual or perennial, decumbent or erect. Stems hairy or smooth. Leaves opposite or whorled, sessile; leaf blade round to linear, venation palmate or pinnate. Flowers solitary or in pairs in leaf axils, usually actinomorphic, with 5 sepals and 5 petals, usually white, blue or purple. Dispersal and propagation by seeds and stem fragments.

Natural habitat

often found as a littoral inhabitant of streams, lakes, and wetlands

Additional comments

This genus contains 70-100 species, most of which are terrestrial or amphibious; several species (e.g. B. myriophylloides) are obligate aquatic. Only four species are commonly cultivated. A terrestrial plant with coarsely toothed leaves and white flowers sold as Bacopa is actually Sutera diffusus. Species of Bacopa are usually aromatic with a lemon scent when damaged, and plant extracts are used as herbal remedies.