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Water hawthorn

Aponogeton distachyos

Cape pondweed, Water hyacinth, Cape asparagus, Hawthorn-scented pondweed, Winter hawthorn

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The Cape pond weed is a deciduous or partially evergreen, perennial, aquatic flowering plant. It has long oval/egg-shaped or lance-shaped floating leaves and unbranched, small, edible, fragrant white flowers with purple anthers. Waterblommetjies flower in profusion during winter and spring. Bees are very attracted to the flowers and may be one of the main pollinators. It is adapted to growing in ponds and vleis which dry up in summer. The dormant tubers sprout again as soon as the pools fill in autumn. This is a well known local delicacy for the cold winter months. It has become so popular that many commercial plantings have been made in ponds around the Western Cape.

Planning

Difficulty
Easy
Flowering time
Spring, Winter
Fruiting time
Spring, Winter

Harvesting

Allow seedheads to dry on plants and then remove and collect seeds. Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds.

Propagation

Tubers
Plant new tubers in a pot with loam and place it in shallow water until the plants starts growing strong. The pot can then slowly be moved to deeper water in the sun. They seed themselves.

Special features

Attracts useful insects
Bees
Wet sites
It is adapted to growing in ponds and vleis which dry up in summer.

Geography

Origin
South Africa, Western Cape, Boland
Natural climate
Mediterranean

Environment

Light
Full Sun
Soil moisture
Wet
Soil type
Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil PH preference
Neutral
Frost hardiness
Half-Hardy

Uses

Edible
Flowers
Notes
Culinary. Ornamental.

Personality

Family
Aponogetonaceae
Flower colour
White
Scent
Mild

Problems

Generally pest and disease free.

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