Water-soldier

Stratiotes aloides

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  2. Wildflowers
  3. Water-soldier

About

The free-floating Water-soldier rare native aquatic plant which is also grown in garden ponds and often escapes. It can be found mostly in central and eastern England. It grows beneath the water, staying submerged for most of the year. From June to August it surfaces and flowers, displaying white blooms. Like other aquatic plants, it offers resting and sheltering places for aquatic insects like dragonfly and damselfly larvae.

How to identify

The stiff leaves of Water-soldier are spear-shaped and saw-edged and form a rosette - they look a little bit like the top of a pineapple. Arising from this rosette is a solitary, white, three-petalled flower.

Where to find it

As a native, confined to fen habitats in eastern England, but much more widespread as a garden escape.

When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Novermber
  • December
  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September

How can people help

Human activity, including the drainage of land for agriculture and development, has resulted in the disappearance of many of the UK's wetlands. The Wildlife Trusts are working closely with planners, developers and farmers to ensure our wetlands are protected. You can help too: add native plants and flowers, such as Water-soldier, to a wildlife-friendly pond and its margins, and provide shelter for amphibians and nectar for insects. In partnership with the RHS, The Wildlife Trusts' Wild About Gardens initiative can help you plan your wildlife garden.

Species information

Common name
Water-soldier
Latin name
Stratiotes aloides
Category
Wildflowers
Statistics
Height: up to 5cm
Conservation status
Classified as Near Threatened in Britain on the Red Data List.