Scientific name

Limnocharis Bonpl.

Common names

yellow burr head, bur head, yellow sawah lettuce, sawah-flowering rush



Native distribution

tropical America, Caribbean

Species commonly cultivated

Limnocharis flava (L.) Buchenau (Central and South America)

L. humboldtii (Rich.) Endl. (Central and South America)

Adventive distribution

Limnocharis flava is established in India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, China, Singapore, and Australia (eradicated).

Weed status

Limnocharis flava is a declared prohibited weed in Florida (United States) and in Australia. Considered weedy in southern India.


emergent and rooted or floating in mats, broad-leaved rosette plant

Brief description

Perennial or annual. Plants floating or rooted and emergent. Leaves in a rosette; petiole thick, triangular in cross-section; leaf blade lanceolate, ovate to suborbicular, venation palmate with prominent mid-vein and numerous cross-veins; base squared, rounded or cordate. Inflorescence a 2-15 flowered umbel on an elongate peduncle yet shorter than the leaves. Sepals 3, green; petals, 3 yellow; stamens numerous. Dispersal by production of numerous seeds.

Natural habitat

shallow waters of lakes, ponds, and rivers

Additional comments

Limnocharis is exclusively sold as a pond plant as it is unsuitable for cultivation in aquaria. Limnocharis flava is the most commonly traded member of the genus, with L. humboldtii occasionally traded. Two other species from Central America, Limnocharis laforestii Duchass. ex Griseb. and L. emarginata Humb. & Bonpl., are not presently cultivated for ponds. Limnocharis flava is also known as puck-pai, a herb used in cooking in Thailand.