What are some examples of marsh plants


European marsh and aquatic plants:


Prof. Raimund Fischer, an excellent expert on the peculiarities of the flora in eastern Austria and observer for decades, writes in his book "Blossom splendor on the eastern edge of the Alps", for example, about the Siberian Iris :

"Two to three decades ago this delicate flower beauty was a not uncommon plant in the wet meadows of the southern Vienna Basin, today it is close to extinction."

Many other marsh plants across Europe are also depleted, caused by the destruction of their habitats.


Left : Iris sibirica (Siberian iris)

right : Dianthus superbus (carnation)
not only pleases with the long-lasting flower pile,
but also by their intense fragrance.






Wet meadows have been drained or overfertilized, and many formerly scattered occurrences of rare native species have died out as a result. In their place one often only finds greasy meadows, covered with the wild, overgrown goldenrods, which actually come from North America (Solidago canadensis and S. gigantea) that displace any more delicate plant.





left: also the Swamp euphorbia (Euphorbia palustris), which is said to have been very common in the past along all of the larger river valleys such as the Danube, Elbe and Rhine, is now considered to be very rare to severely endangered. As a perennial plant (from the gardener!) It grows on the pond bank to an imposing perennial with bright yellow flower umbels and a beautiful red-brown autumn color.



right: the Salt meadow iris, also "Bastard Iris" (Iris spuria) has its main distribution area in southern Europe and the Mediterranean area. There are very small occurrences in Lower Austria and Burgenland in the area of ​​the Pannonian flora and in Germany in some places in the Rhine lowlands, very rarely.







Left : also the Little pond rose (Nuphar pumila)
as a resident of moor lakes, nutrient-poor backwaters
and slow flowing waters is considered to be critically endangered.



Most of the smaller ponds have long been leveled and have disappeared under industrial buildings or usable areas, the remaining ones are endangered by garbage deposits, overfertilization or pesticide treatment in the area, or they are used for fishing or as bathing ponds. There is no longer any space for natural riparian vegetation.
It is similar with the smaller rivers, which, even if they are not channeled in concrete channels, can only rarely offer the conditions for a species-rich flora and fauna.



All the more importance should therefore be given to the many water basins and ponds, which have been created in so many numbers in recent years and are still being built - small islands of undisturbed nature, where, as soon as they are filled with water, the first insects can already be seen arrive.
The first water strider is already there, then the pond is not at all full, followed later by a wide variety of dragonflies, mosquitoes and frogs, and sometimes even newts.

left and below: our largest foil pond (approx. 150 m2)




A swimming pond is an ideal body of water for garden owners. The deep part intended for bathing should only make up about a third of the pond area - an additional underwater terrace, sunk to about a meter deep, offers space for water lilies, and in the bank area around it, many of the wonderful ones, some of them in nature, can enjoy themselves Spread marsh plants that have become rare.












Above and right:The Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) is not uncommon, but one of the most grateful bloomers and fodder plants for the caterpillars of the night peacock in the bank zone from early summer until well into late autumn.


left: more blooming Water hose (Utricularia australis)
with single flower










 Often found on the banks of many bodies of water is the
Swamp iris, Iris pseudacorus
which are also stately at the garden pond, up to one
Meter high specimens can grow

Libellula depressa (Flat-bellied dragonfly)







left and below: Menyanthes trifoliata (fever clover), originally native of swamps and in the siltation zone of standing water; has become rare in nature due to drainage or abandonment of management (mowing), endangered.













Left : Arrowhead (Sagittaria sagittifolia) in the
Marchauen near Drösing, N.Ö.

Photo: W. Loch






right : Crab claw (Stratiotes aloides), originally from the Old Danube in Vienna, from where it disappeared many years ago due to dredging, and leaves the White water lily (Nymphaea alba)







left and below: a selection of beautiful hybrids of water lilies with their wonderful flowers; in the background on the left
Typha latifolia and right, a little smaller,
Typha laxmannii
(broad-leaved and Laxmann's cattails)



















Top left and right: Nymphaea candida, the Little ones or Shiny water lily,
used to be widespread in Central and Eastern Europe, but has disappeared from most previous occurrences (sensitive to water pollution and lime fertilization). Cultivated individually in a small pond, numerous young plants grow from the seeds.






right : Typha minima (dwarf flask)

Even among the native, even more common grassy ones, there are some imposing figures that would be worth planting more often on the banks of artificial ponds:



far left: that Schneidried (Cladium mariscus) With its inflorescences up to 1.5 m high, it is a conspicuous phenomenon; it is one of the actually vigorous and even proliferating species over the years, so that (as with many other vigorous plants) its classification as "endangered to very endangered" would actually be inexplicable - if it weren't for the massive destruction of their habitats.






Left : Schoenus nigricans (black button rush) forms compact, elegant clumps








Left: the Cuckoo's light carnation (Lychnis flos- cuculi) is with its early flowering period a striking and charming appearance on the pond bank, where it also sows itself.

left: a gem and much rarer in nature is the low competitive one
Primula farinosa (flour primrose)

right and below:
Butomus umbellatus (swan flower)

needs very nutritious soil so that it blooms regularly -
Tip: cultivate as a container plant, sink and repot in nutritious soil twice a year



Photo below: W. Loch










Right : Dactylorrhiza majalis, broad-leaved orchid, sows itself in the bank area 



left outside: Gymnadenia conopsea (Mosquito-Haendelwurz)and Epipactis palustris (swamp stendelwort)both of which have developed from young plants to specimens with several inflorescences over the course of a few years on the pond bank.




Fritillaria meleagris (checkerboard flower)






right : Gratiola officinalis (grace herb),
that used to be used as a medicinal plant and
was cultivated, is now also considered to be critically endangered


Left : Sparganium minimum (dwarf hedgehog cob, avoids lime, endangered)









right : Schoenoplectus mucronatus (spiky pond sill; no more information on the location of the discovery for Central Europe, very rare in bot)

right outside: Sparganium emersum (Knotty hedgehog cob)



For more delicate species and rarities among the marsh plants (such as the three on the right), it is advisable to plant them in their own pots in the bank area so that they are not overgrown by vigorous species over time.



Just like the larger, robust bank plants such as cattails or frog spoons (Alisma plantago), the underwater or floating plants also consume excess nutrients. Apart from the fact that they are necessary for the balance in the pond and the water quality, such as hornwort and waterweed (Elodea), many of them are also valued for their flowers, such as. the sea can (Nymphoides peltata) or the water hose (Utricularia). The crab claw (Stratiotes aloides) again and different kinds of spawning herbs (e.g. Potamogeton lucens, natans or the rare species coloratus, nodosus, crispus or praelongusto name just a few) are decorative due to their interesting underwater and floating leaves.


right: Groenlandia densa (Dense fishweed), Potamogetons; Leaves opposite; is rooted in the bottom of slowly flowing, clear, unpolluted waters. Endangered - in Germany endangered or threatened with extinction.








Left : Water feather (Hottonia palustris),
rare in backwaters of rivers, endangered

Photo: by W. Loch from the Marchauen near Drösing, N.Ö.




A number of plant species from European wetlands have become so rare that they are already considered threatened, or some are already extinct in individual countries.
Some examples are given here:

-> Trapa natans (water nut), Cladium mariscus (Schneidried), Alisma gramineum (grass-leaved frog spoon),

right : Trapa natans (water nut), Marchauen near Drösing, N.Ö.




-> Caldesia parnassifolia (heart spoon), -> Aldrovanda vesiculosa (water trap), Potamogeton coloratus (colored pondweed), Luronium natans (frogweed), Marsilea quadrifolia (four-leaf clover), Pilularia globulifera (star fern), Damasonium alism Baldellia ranunculoides (buttercup-like hedgehog hose), some Schoenoplectus species (pond sill)

Left : Caldesia parnassifolia (heart leaf)


-> Salvinia natans (swimming fern),



right : Salvinia natans (swimming fern) from a natural site in the Rhine meadows, here together with the decorative floating leaves of the fern Regnellidium diphyllum (although Regnellidium diphyllum comes from southeastern Brazil, its rhizomes, which are rooted in the ground, hibernate under the ice layer in some years, and new leaves appear in spring - but to be on the safe side, a part of this lovely treasure should always be wintered in a light and temperate manner).
The genus Regnellidium from the clover family
contains only one species, Regnellidium diphyllum



- and last but not least the native species of the marsh gladioli, whose chances of survival in their few remaining habitats are by no means convincing despite protective measures - mowing too early long before the seeds are ripe - setting up a wild feeding place in the immediate vicinity of the last few specimens (if still available at all), etc. we have not seen such magnificently blooming specimens in nature as those raised from seeds after a few years.












Left : Gladiolus paluster

right and below: Gladiolus imbricatus (Dachige Siegwurz), up with with Veronica spuria (panicle blue loosestrife)























The German tamarisk (Myricaria germanica) is a shrub and belongs to the pioneer plants on newly formed gravel areas of the alpine and pre-alpine rivers. The restructuring of the river systems in recent centuries has largely destroyed their habitat. In the Red List of Austria and Germany Has Myricaria germanica status 1 (“threatened with extinction”), in the federal states of Upper Austria, Lower Austria and Vienna status 0 (“eradicated, extinct or lost”).

In recent years, however, there have been successes in reintroducing both stems and young plants from seeds were drawn.

Right: seed stand of Myricaria germanica.

Left: The rare one is also threatened with extinction Beaker bell (Adenophora liliifolia) from the bluebell family.







Below: "artificial" shore society from Epilobium angustifolium (willowherb), Cyperus longus (Long Sedge), Veronica longifolia and Veronica spuria (long-leaf and Panicle blue loosestrife).

With the exception of the common willowherb, the other species mentioned are listed as "Endangered", V. spuria and C. longus even as threatened with extinction (excursion flora from Austria). It is Cyperus longus, a plant with a more Mediterranean distribution, of which there are only two small occurrences in nature, actually very vigorous, spreads strongly and can take a large strip of shore for itself within a few years and displace weaker plants. In the case of smaller pond systems, it should not be planted out freely.


Other rarities require special care, or at least special, suitable site conditions in culture - such as

right : Calla palustris (swamp calla, dragon arum) is calcareous
and like so many other bog and marsh plants threatened with extinction.

Left : Baldellia ranunculoides (hedgehog hose), only common in western and north-western Europe.










below and right below: Luronium natans (floating frog weed) is a slow-growing bank plant that prefers changing water banks; it is weak in competition and is often displaced by larger species during water reutrophication; Only native to Western Europe, severely endangered in Germany, absent in Switzerland and Austria.


















right : Damasonium alisma (star fruit)

A Swiss biologist sent us some seeds of this only im
plant native to western Europe and already endangered there.

The disappointment was great when the seeds in the following
Year did not germinate, but all the greater the joy than in the 2nd year
after sowing some plants grew.
The seeds can apparently remain for years,
without losing the ability to germinate.





Small, shady pond in the forest part of our garden:

With Frog bite (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae), Glossy pondweed (Potamogeton lucens), with floating leaves of the Nodular pondweed (P. nodosus) and Crab claws (Stratiotes aloides) ;.

The rosettes of the Crab claw only float on the surface of the water in summer and sink to the bottom in autumn. This actually very vigorous plant is also included on the Red List of Endangered Species (threatened with extinction)!





right: the single flowers ofFrog bite (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae). The plant overwinters with small turions, which sink to the ground in winter, rise to the water surface in spring and form floating leaves again. Also classified as endangered in nature.





Below: Bank planting with Fargesia nitida, Elder-leaved record sheet (Rodgersia sambucifolia, Origin Central China), Ostrich fern (Matteucia struthiopteris, Alluvial forests, brook banks), Shield leaf (Darmera peltata, western North America)


















last modified 02/14/2021