Issue Number #31
Issue Date Autumn 2005
Number of Articles Online 1 Articles
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Title Feature Plant - Water Ribbons

Triglochin, or 'Water Ribbons' is an aquatic emergent plant with spreading floating strap-like leaves, found in slow-flowing and still water. It has a distinctive single flower spike, packed with fruit in late summer.

It is a valuable aboriginal food plant with a starchy tuber, with a sweet nutty flavour when cooked. It's also an important component of wetland habitats as nesting material for waterfowl, shelter for fish, and a basking surface for frogs.

Triglochin has huge potential in constructed wetlands. Research shows that the Western Australian species, Triglochin huegelii removes more nitrogen and phosphorous from nutrient-rich water than other emergent macrophytes. Triglochin species are generally capable of surviving dry conditions by reducing to a tuber, but usually grow throughout the year in wet conditions. Triglochin also grows in brackish water (up to 6,000mg/l).

Don't be deceived by seeds that are still green - they are ripe when they fall easily from the seed spike. Seeds need to be stored in water, and planted in the season they are collected. They germinate readily, and may begin sprouting before you get their pots organised! Plant into pots that are in a water bath to keep soil saturated.

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