Hydrocotyle

Scientific name

Hydrocotyle L.

Common names

pennywort

Family

Apiaceae

Could be confused with

Brasenia, Cardamine, Ipomoea, Nymphoides, Ranunculus

Native distribution

cosmopolitan

Species commonly cultivated

Hydrocotyle leucocephala Cham.& Schltdl. (Central and South America)

H. ranunculoides L. f. (America)

H. sibthorpioides Lam. (Asia)

H. verticillata Thunb. (America)

H. vulgaris L. (Europe, Africa, Middle East)

Adventive distribution

Hydrocotyle ranunculoides is introduced in Australia and Europe, while H. sibthorpioides is introduced in the United States.

Weed status

Some terrestrial species of Hydrocotyle are considered serious weeds in disturbed areas in several countries. Hydrocotyle ranunculoides is an aquatic weed in the United Kingdom.

Habit

amphibious, creeping stoloniferous plant

Brief description

Perennial. Stems floating or creeping, rooted at nodes, stoloniferous. Leaves produced at most nodes, usually floating or emergent, sometimes submersed, on elongate petiole, stipules present; leaf blade peltate, orbicular to reniform; margin entire or lobed. Inflorescence an axillary umbel, rarely a spike. Flowers small and inconspicuous. Dispersal by seed or stem fragments.

Natural habitat

shallow waters of rivers and lakes, wet littoral zone, and wet ground

Additional comments

a large genus of at least 75 species worldwide, of which only 5 are aquatic or amphibious