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Stratiotes aloides - L.

Common Name Water Soldier
Family Hydrocharitaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Broads, ponds and ditches in calcareous districts[17]. It is very local and probably diminishing[17].
Range Europe, including Britain, to northwestern Asia.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Stratiotes aloides Water Soldier
Stratiotes aloides Water Soldier


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Noxious Weed Information: Stratiotes aloides. This plant is listed by the U.S. federal government or a state. Alabama: water-aloe Class C noxious weed Florida: water-aloe, soldier plant. Prohibited aquatic plant, Class 1

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Stratiotes aloides is a PERENNIAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 1 m (3ft 3in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5. It is in flower from June to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map



 Pond; Bog Garden;

Edible Uses

None known


Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

The herb has had a high reputation for treating wounds, especially when these are made by an iron implement. It is applied externally[4]. The plant is also said to be of use in the treatment of St. Anthony's Fire and also of bruised kidneys[4].


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Other Uses

None known

Special Uses


Cultivation details

A water plant, it requires a neutral to alkaline water[200]. The herb is submerged at most times of the year, rising to the surface only when it is flowering[17]. The leaves accumulate calcium carbonate and by the autumn this makes them heavy enough to sink to the bottom of the pond. The new leaves in spring do not have this calcium carbonate and so rise to the surface[200]. A vigorous-growing plant, it will tend to swamp out other plants when grown in a small pond[200]. Plants are dioecious, male and female plants must be grown if seed is required[17]. Only the female plant occurs naturally in Britain, though plants with hermaphrodite flowers are also found occasionally[17]. Seed is never set in Britain, the plants increasing mainly by offsets[17].


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Seed - best sown in situ as soon as it is ripe. The seed is seldom if ever produced in Britain[17]. Division at almost any time of the year, though spring is best.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Neville Scott   Fri Jun 30 2006

Isle of wight aquarist's society Some useful information

Förster, Bernhard   Mon Feb 11 2008

it is not a hermaphrodite!

Ken Fern, Plants for a Future   Sat Feb 16 2008

As Bernhard says, the plant is not usually hermaphrodite, but dioecious. Our records have been changed accordingly. However, there are very occasional hermaphrodite plants found in the wild, which is where our mistake originated.

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