Neptunia

Scientific name

Neptunia Lour.

Common names

puff, small leaf sensitive plant, dwarf sensitive plant, neptunia, water dead and awake

Family

Fabaceae

Could be confused with

Aeschynomene, Mimosa

Native distribution

pan-tropical

Species commonly cultivated

Neptunia oleracea Lour. (N. aquatica; N. prostrata (Lam.) Baill.) (Africa, Asia, Mexico, South America)

Adventive distribution

information not available

Weed status

Neptunia plena (L.) Benth. is a weed in wetlands in Asia.

Habit

small creeping or aquatic herb which either grows prostrate near the waters edge or floats by forming spongy aerenchyma around the stems

Brief description

Perennial. Stems creeping, ascending, or floating; floating stems of spongy aerenchyma. Leaves alternate, bipinnate, sensitive; stipules present but not apparent on floating stems. Inflorescence a spherical head on an elongate peduncle. Flowers actinomorphic, dimorphic: upper flowers bisexual, lower male and often sterile; sepals small, tubular, campanulate, lobes 5; petals 5, yellow. Fruit a distinctive flattened seed pod. Dispersal by seeds.

Natural habitat

wet ground, littoral, or in shallow water

Additional comments

Neptunia oleracea is an important vegetable herb in Southeast Asia. Eleven species are in the genus, with three aquatic. Neptunia aquatica is the name widely used in the aquarium and pond plant trade.