Overview

Comprehensive Description

Comments

Creeping Water Primrose has showy flowers and attractive foliage. Unfortunately, it is sometimes too aggressive for its own good. It can be distinguished from other Ludwigia spp. by its larger 5-petaled flowers and sprawling semi-aquatic habit. Across its range in the United States and tropical America, different varieties of this species have been described, although only var. glabrescens has been found in Illinois. This variety can be distinguished by its more glabrous foliage. Another scientific name of this wetland plant is Jussiaea repens glabrescens, while an alternative common name is Creeping Primrose Willow.
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Description

This perennial plant is ¾–2½' long. It either floats on water or sprawls across the ground. The stems are light green to red (often the latter), glabrous to sparsely pubescent, and terete. Alternate leaves along these stems are 1¼–3" long and ½–1" across; they are elliptic, oblong-elliptic, oblanceolate, or oblong-oblanceolate in shape and smooth along their margins. The leaves are usually glossy green in appearance, although sometimes they develop patches of red or yellow. The upper leaf surface is glabrous, while the lower leaf surface is glabrous to sparsely pubescent. The leaf bases taper gradually into slender petioles about ½–2" long. Individual flowers develop from the axils of the middle to upper leaves on erect to semi-erect pedicels about 1–3" long. Each flower is about 1" across, consisting of 5 yellow petals, 5 light green sepals, 10 yellow stamens, and a narrowly cylindrical pistil with a single style. The petals are obovate in shape with pale pinnate nerves, while the smaller sepals are lanceolate. Compared to the size of the flower, both the stamens and style are relatively short. Between the apex of the pedicel and the bottom of the pistil, there is a pair of tiny bractlets (about 1.0–1.5 mm. in length). The blooming period occurs from late spring to early fall, lasting several months. The flowers are diurnal. Afterwards, the flowers are replaced by cylindrical seed capsules about 1–1½" long. Each seed capsule has 5 narrow cells, and each cell contains a row of seeds. The seeds are enclosed in chunky outer coatings (endocarps); they are about 1.0-1.5 mm. in length. The root system is fibrous and fleshy. When the nodes of the stems lie on wet ground, they are capable of developing new fibrous roots, from which new plants are produced vegetatively. Sometimes the root system produces small bladders that keep individual plants more buoyant in the water. This plant often forms large colonies.
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Ludwigia adscendens (L.) H. Hara, 1953

Materials

Type status: Other material. Occurrence: recordedBy: Y. Ito ; Location: country: Thailand ; locality: Hotel river Kwai, Kantchanabury ; verbatimLatitude: 14° 1' 59" N; verbatimLongitude: 99° 31' 10" E; Event: eventDate: Nov. 15, 2012 ; Record Level: collectionID: Y. Ito 1720; institutionCode: BKF

Type status: Other material. Occurrence: recordedBy: Y. Ito ; Location: country: Laos ; locality: Savannaket Province; Nakai Plateau, Theun Douan lake, near Phong Sa Vahn resettlement village. ; verbatimLatitude: 16° 34' 10" N; verbatimLongitude: 104° 44' 54" E; Event: eventDate: May. 4, 2007 ; Record Level: collectionID: J. F. Maxwell 07-313; institutionCode: GH

Type status: Other material. Occurrence: recordedBy: Y. Ito ; Location: country: Myanmar ; verbatimLatitude: 16° 53' 19" N; verbatimLongitude: 95° 52' 29" E; Event: eventDate: Dec. 8, 2006 ; Record Level: institutionCode: TI

Type status: Other material. Occurrence: recordedBy: Y. Ito ; Location: country: Myanmar ; verbatimLatitude: 16° 53' 19"; verbatimLongitude: 95° 52' 28" E; Event: eventDate: Dec. 1, 2008 ; Record Level: institutionCode: TI

Type status: Other material. Occurrence: recordedBy: Y. Ito ; Location: country: Thailand ; locality: Songkla Province, Talae Noi Waterfowl Reserve, N end of Lake Songkla, near Phattalung. ; verbatimLatitude: 7° 15' N; verbatimLongitude: 100° 26' 16" E; Event: eventDate: Dec. 28, 1978 ; Record Level: collectionID: G. Congdon & C. Hamilton #155; institutionCode: GH

Type status: Other material. Occurrence: recordedBy: Y. Ito ; Location: country: Thailand ; locality: Phetchabury. ; verbatimLatitude: 13° 24' 30" N; verbatimLongitude: 99° 48' 44" E; Event: eventDate: Nov. 14, 2012 ; Record Level: collectionID: Y. Ito 1709; institutionCode: BKF

Distribution

Bangladesh, Cambodia, China (nationwide), India (nationwide), Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam.

  • Ito, Yu, Barfod, Anders S. (2014): An updated checklist of aquatic plants of Myanmar and Thailand. Biodiversity Data Journal 2, 1019: 1019-1019, URL:http://dx.doi.org/10.3897/BDJ.2.e1019
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Miscellaneous Details

Notes: Ponds and ditches
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Brief

Flowering class: Dicot Habit: Herb
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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Creeping Water Primrose is locally common and native to southern Illinois, while in the rest of the state it is uncommon and probably adventive in most areas (see Distribution Map). This species is slowly spreading northward. Habitats include borders of ponds, shallow areas of lakes, sluggish streams, swamps, marshes, and ditches. In some of these habitats, Creeping Water Primrose can become the dominant shoreline plant, forming large colonies.
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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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"Maharashtra: Thane Karnataka: Belgaum, Coorg, Hassan, Mysore, N. Kanara, Shimoga Kerala: Alapuzha, Idukki, Kasaragod, Kollam, Kottayam, Kozhikode, Malapuram, Pathanamthitta Tamil Nadu: All districts"
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"
Global Distribution

Continental Asia, Malesia and Australia

Indian distribution

State - Kerala, District/s: Kottayam, Alappuzha, Kasaragode, Kollam, Idukki, Pathanamthitta, Thiruvananthapuram, Malappuram, Kozhikkode, Wayanad, Kannur, Thrissur, Ernakulam

"
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Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, Hunan, Jiangxi, Taiwan, Yunnan, Zhejiang [India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand; widespread in Africa, S and SE Asia, Australia].
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Subtropical Himalaya, India, east to China, Malaysia, Australia.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Herbs perennial, with creeping or floating stems, rooting at nodes, with white, erect, short (1-3 cm), spindle-shaped pneumatophores in clusters at nodes of floating stems. Floating stems to 400 cm, terrestrial stems 20-60 cm, much branched, tips ascending, glabrous or densely villous. Petiole 5-20 mm; leaf blade oblong to spatulate-oblong, 0.4-7 × 0.7-3 cm, glabrous, lateral veins 6-13 per side, submarginal vein not prominent, base narrowly cuneate or attenuate, margin entire, apex obtuse to subacute. Sepals 5, deltoid-acuminate, 5-11 mm, glabrous or villous. Petals creamy-white with yellow base, obovate, 9-18 × 6-10 mm. Stamens 10; filaments white, 2.5-4 mm; anthers 0.7-1.8 mm; pollen in monads. Style white, 4-10 mm, glabrous; stigma discoid. Capsule light brown with dark brown ribs, cylindric, terete, 1.2-2.7 cm, 3-4 mm in diam., glabrous or villous, thickly walled, tardily and irregularly dehiscent; pedicel 1.5-5.5 cm. Seeds in one row per locule, firmly embedded in coherent cubes of woody endocarp fused to capsule wall, pale brown, oblong or elliptic, 1.1-1.3 mm, raphe inconspicuous. Fl. Apr-Nov, fr. May-Nov. 2n = 32*.
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Elevation Range

200-600 m
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Diagnostic Description

Diagnostic

"Aquatic floating herbs; aerophores spongy, white coloured, fusiform. Leaves 1.5-3.5 x 0.5-1.5 cm, obovate to oblanceolate, base attenuate, apex obtuse, lower surface glossy. Flowers solitary, axillary, to 4 cm across. Calyx tube c. 1 cm long, pubescent; lobes 5, narrow-lanceolate. Petals 5, obovate, emarginate or rounded at apex, cream coloured or white with an yellowish blotch inside. Stamens 10; filaments subequal. Ovary 5-locular; ovules many; style hairy at base; stigma globose. Capsule c. 2.5 cm long, terete, 10-ribbed, dehiscing by 4-5 valves."
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Diagnostic

Habit: Herb
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Synonym

Jussiaea adscendens Linnaeus, Syst. Nat., ed. 12, 2: 297; Mant. Pl. 1: 69. 1767; J. repens Linnaeus.
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Type Information

Isoneotype for Jussiaea adscendens L.
Catalog Number: US 2794203
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: ; Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): C. Saldanha
Year Collected: 1969
Locality: Hassan District, Mysore. Belur - Gendehally road., Karnataka, India, Asia-Tropical
Microhabitat: In a pond.
  • Isoneotype: Linnaeus, C. 1767. Mantissa Pl. 69.; Raven, P. H. & et al. Order Out of Chaos. 605.
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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Creeping Water Primrose is locally common and native to southern Illinois, while in the rest of the state it is uncommon and probably adventive in most areas (see Distribution Map). This species is slowly spreading northward. Habitats include borders of ponds, shallow areas of lakes, sluggish streams, swamps, marshes, and ditches. In some of these habitats, Creeping Water Primrose can become the dominant shoreline plant, forming large colonies.
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General Habitat

Ponds and ditches
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Wet swampy places, flooded rice paddies, often floating in water at edges of ponds, tanks, ditches; near sea level to 1600 m.
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Associations

Faunal Associations

The flowers are cross-pollinated primarily by bees, including honeybees, digger bees (Eucerine), and Halictid bees. Other visitors, such as flies and skippers, are less effective at cross-pollination. These insects obtain nectar and/or pollen from the flowers. Some insects feed destructively on Creeping Water Primrose. This includes the flea beetles, Altica litigata and Lysathia ludoviciana, and a leafhopper, Draeculacephala inscripta. The Mallard and possibly other ducks feed on the seed capsules. Because of the large dense colonies that this plant often forms, it provides good cover along shorelines for various insects, frogs, and other wetland wildlife. Photographic Location
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Flower-Visiting Insects of Creeping Primrose in Illinois

Ludwigia peploides glabresens (Creeping Primrose)
(an older scientific name for this plant is Jussiaea repens; bees suck nectar or collect pollen, wasps and skippers suck nectar only, while Syrphid flies feed on pollen; wasps and some bees are effective pollinators of the flowers; observations are from Estes & Thorp; Lasioglossum nelumbonis was described as a collector of pollen by the authors, but this oligolectic bee requires pollen from very different plant species)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn cp; Anthophoridae (Eucerini): Svastra cressonii sn cp fq

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Agapostemon melliventris sn cp fq, Augochlorella striata sn cp fq, Lasioglossum spp. sn cp fq np, Lasioglossum lustrans sn np fq, Lasioglossum nelumbonis sn np

Wasps
Vespidae (Eumeninae): Euodynerus hidalgo sn

Flies
Syrphidae: Eristalis sp. fp np, Toxomerus sp. fp np; Muscidae: Unidentified sp. fp np

Skippers
Hesperiidae: Atalopedes campestris sn np, Lerodea eufala sn np

Beetles
Chrysomelidae: Altica sp. np

Katydids
Tettigoniidae: Unidentified sp. (nymphs) fp np

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering and fruiting: Throughout the year
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: T5 - Secure

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is full sun, wet conditions, and muddy soil, although this plant can adapt to shallow water as a floating aquatic. Creeping Water Primrose (Ludwigia peploides glabrescens) can spread aggressively in shallow wetlands and muddy areas. It is potentially invasive.
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Uses

Medicinal
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Notes

Comments

The plant is used medicinally for its febrifugal and antiswelling properties.
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