Madagascar Lace Plant : Aponogeton madagascariensis

Madagascar lace plant (Aponogeton madagascariensis) is a well-known ornamental plant among the aquarium enthusiasts due to its unique lace-like greenish leaves and hardiness. It is an aquatic monocotyledonous perennial plant which belongs to the Aponogetonaceae family under order Alismatales. 

It (Aponogeton madagascariensis) was discovered by Dutch Amateur Botanist Heinrich Wilhelm Eduard van Bruggen in 1968.  It is listed as “least concern” in the IUCN Red Data Book. This species is endangered in their natural habitat due to pollution, habitat destruction and over-exploitation as aquarium plants. 

It is one of the bulb-like excellent aquarium plants which have netted look dark green leaves that make the central focal point in any planted aquarium.

Distribution and Habitat

Madagascar lace plant (Aponogeton madagascariensis) is native to Madagascar, Africa. It is also found in Asia and Australasia. Generally, they can grow in still or fast flowing clear waters where partially shaded areas are available but they also can live in dry condition. Some Asian species can stay alive underwater all the year round.

Systematic Position

Kingdom: Plantae

Class: Angiospermae

Sub Class: Monocotyledoneae

Order: Alismatales

Family: Aponogetonaceae

Genus: Aponogeton

Species: Aponogeton madagascariensis

Common Names

Madagascar lace plant (Aponogeton madagascariensis) is an appealing aquarium plant which is also known as lattice leaf, lace plant or Madagascar laceleaf.

Madagascar Lace Plant Varieties

It is now cultivated in many countries for the aquarium trade. There are four (04) varieties available in the pet fish business sector including Aponogeton madagascariensis var. fenestralis, Aponogeton madagascariensis var. madagascariensis, Aponogeton madagascariensis var. henkelianus, Aponogeton madagascariensis var. guillotii. Synonyms of this species are Uvirandra madagascariensis Mirb and Aponogeton fenestralis.

Quick Madagascar Lace Plant Facts

  • Scientific Name: Aponogeton madagascariensis
  • Common Name: Lace Plant, Madagascar lace, Lattice Leaf
  • Origin: Madagascar, Africa
  • Placement in Tank: Background, Mid-ground
  • Habitat: Shaded areas with slow-moving waters in the wild
  • Minimum Tank size: 10 gallons (38 liters)
  • Height: 25-60 cm (10-24 inch)
  • Width: 25-30 cm (10-12 inch)
  • Propagation: Bulb/Seeds
  • Water pH: 6.0 – 8.0
  • Water hardness: 4-15 0dGH
  • Water temperature: 15-24 0C (59-75 0 F)
  • Lighting needs: Low – Medium lighting
  • Growth rate: Medium
  • Care level: Moderate

Physical Features

Madagascar Lace Plant is a perennial aquatic plant that bears tuberous rhizomes with 3 cm in diameter. It has oblong type leaves with up to 65 cm in length.  The leaf blade is 15-55 cm in length and 5–16 cm in width. The leaves are a unique lace-like structure with greenish color which extends parallel under the surface of the water.

The leaf forms window-like screen which makes the plant more attractive. Under suitable conditions, they produce flower regularly on an erect spike with the stem of up to 1.5 cm in diameter in the aquarium condition. The flowers can do self-pollination under the suitable condition.

Housing and Care Facts

It is an excellent centerpiece plant which requires at least 10 gallons (38 liters) tank but larger is recommended. To make a focal point, the Madagascar Lace Plant should be placed singly in the mid-ground position of the aquarium among the other plants.

For optimum growth, it needs medium light. In this case, lighting should be 3 - 5 watts per gallon of water using a fluorescent lamp.  The tank should have crystal clear water with a strong filtration system to make strong water current. For proper growth, the tank should also have good water chemistry with a pH of 5.5-7.5, the temperature of 68-720 F (20-220 C) and hardness of 2-15 0dGH.

It requires CO2 supplementation with all macronutrients and micronutrients for better growth. Many dark brown dead spots are formed on old aged leaves which make the plant less attractive. In this case, you should trim the older or any dead leaves to create your aquarium more attractive. If the soil contains more organic substances, sometimes dead spots are seen on the leaves.

You should always keep and clean the plant`s leaves from algae growth or any debris settlement, because it is hard to eliminate from the leaves and makes the plant less attractive. To minimize the overgrowth of algae, you should keep the algae eating fish in the aquarium such as Bristlenose plecos, Siamese Algae Eater or Chinese Algae Eater.

Reproduction/Propagation

If you take appropriate care, you can easily propagate this plant under aquarium condition. Generally, propagation is done using tuberous bulb or seeds. During propagation using the bulb, it should be placed within nutrition rich substrate until the roots are developed. After developing more roots and immature leaves, the baby plants separate from the mother plant and plant it in a separate location for further development.

Sexual reproduction also occurs through seed formation. After few weeks of pollination, green horn-shaped fruits are formed. Full grown seeds are milky violet in color that has a water-repelling waxy surface. After ripening of fruits, seeds disperse away and float on the water surface. After floating for 1-2 days, seeds release green embryo and sinks into the water bottom. Following a few days, seedlings are produced. For proper growth of baby plants, several times water changes should be done and nutrient-rich substrates are provided.

Concluding Remarks

Overall, Madagascar Lace Plant is one of the most highly prized plants among the aquarium enthusiasts. It is perfect for all aquariums and makes your aquarium environment healthy and stable. Today, it is cultivated for the aquarium trade and available in the pet fish business market with reasonable price. If you create your aquarium beautiful centerpiece, we recommend you to keep this stunning plant in your aquarium. Well, Aponogeton Bernierianus is one of the bests of it's few alternatives.

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