Please donate to support our ‘Plants to Save the Planet’ Project. The Project is directed at enabling designers of ‘carbon farms’ and ‘food forests’: agroecosystems of perennial plants, to choose the most appropriate plants for their requirements and site conditions. We are working on a subset of plants in the PFAF database identified as having the most potential for inclusion in such designs. We are adding search terms and icons to those plants pages, and providing a range of search options aligned to categories of plants and crop yields, with Help facilities including videos. More >>>

Follow Us:


Limnocharis flava - (L.) Buchenau

Common Name Sawah Lettuce, Sawah Flowering Rush
Family Alismataceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats In or at the edge of water[331 ]. Shallow swamps, ditches, pools and wet rice fields, occurring usually in stagnant fresh water[413 ].
Range Southern S. America - Argentina, Paraguay, north through Central America to Mexico.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Wet Soil Water Plants Full sun
Limnocharis flava Sawah Lettuce, Sawah Flowering Rush
Limnocharis flava Sawah Lettuce, Sawah Flowering Rush


Translate this page:


Sawah lettuce (Limnocharis flava), also known as yellow sawah lettuve, yellow burr head, or yellow velvetleaf, is an aquatic flowering, clump-forming, perennial plant which produces erect stems about 20-40cm tall from a short thick rhizome. It is native to Dominican Republic, Mexico, Haiti, Cuba, South America, and Central America but widely naturalized in southern and southeastern Asia. The triangular leaves form into clumps. The stems are hollow. The inflorescence consists of three-lobed yellow flowers. The fruits are spherical. Though considered as an invasive plant and has great potential to become a weed, it is a known vegetable in some countries. In particular, the flower stalk and leaves are used in dishes as well as the immature flower buds. The plant is also used for green manure.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Limnocharis flava is an evergreen Perennial growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.6 m (2ft in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist or wet soil and can grow in water.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Alisma flavum L. Damasonium flavum Mill. Limnocharis emarginata Humb. & Bonpl. Limnocharis laforesti


Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Leaves
Edible Uses:

Leaves, leaf stems, flower stalks and young inflorescences are eaten cooked[317 ]. They can be steamed like endive or spinach, added to soups or mixed with other vegetables[301 ]. The young leaves and tops of the plant are boiled or cooked in mixed soups[413 ]. The vegetable contains relatively high levels of Calcium, Iron and vitamin A, which are nutrients that are frequently insufficient in the diets of women in low-income countries[413 ].


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.

None known


Our new book Edible Shrubs is now available.

Edible Shrubs provides detailed information, attractively presented, on over 70 shrub species. They have been selected to provide a mix of different plant sizes and growing conditions. Most provide delicious and nutritious fruit, but many also have edible leaves, seeds, flowers, stems or roots, or they yield edible or useful oil.

Read More

Edible Shrubs Book

Other Uses

Agroforestry Uses: The plants are sometimes used for green manure[317 ]. Other Uses None known

Special Uses


Cultivation details

Grows best in shallow, neutral to slightly acidic water[200 ]. If allowed to grow unchecked, the plant may become a very invasive environmental weed of streams and wetlands. It has become a serious weed in rice fields, irrigation canals and wetlands in South-East Asia[413 ]. Clumps of the weed provide a congenial breeding site for disease-vectors, including mosquitoes, which encourages the spread of diseases such as Japan fever and dengue fever[413 ]. Plants are reproduced mainly by seeds - these are dispersed via the production of fruitlets, which are buoyant and carried by water to new localities, dispersing seeds along the way[413 ]. Fruiting takes place throughout the year, with a single fruit producing about 1,000 seeds and a single plant producing about 1,000 fruits per year[413 ]. Bloom Color: Bright Yellow White/Near White. Spacing: 18-24 in. (45-60 cm).


Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:



The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

Shop Now


Seed - seed must be kept damp or it loses viability[200 ]. Sow in a constantly damp medium at 20c, cover with silver sand and immerse in 1cm of water once the seedlings have germinated[200 ]. Division

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Sawah Lettuce, Sawah Flowering Rush, Bak kanjong, Bengok, Berek, Bon cheen, Etjeng, Genjur, Jinjir, Keo neo, Ne thao, Phak kanjong, Phak pai, Sawah-flower rush, Sawah-lettuce, Talapat Rusee, Trakiet paong, Velvetleaf, Yellow burhead,

Found In

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

Argentina, Asia, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, Central America, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Grenada, Haiti, Hawaii, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Mexico*, Nicaragua, North America, Pacific, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, SE Asia, South America, Thailand, USA, Venezuela, Vietnam,

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 : This taxon has not yet been assessed

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.


Print Friendly and PDF

Expert comment


(L.) Buchenau

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

Readers comment

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Limnocharis flava  
© 2010, Plants For A Future. Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Some information cannot be used for commercial reasons or be modified (but some can). Please view the copyright link for more information.
Web Design & Management