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Hottonia palustris L.Synonyme: Hottonia millefolium GILBERT
Hottonia: after the botanist P. Hotton from Leiden (1648-1709);
palustris: inhabiting marsh areas.
Engl: Featherfoil, water violet
German: Wasserfeder, Wasserprimel
Italian: Erba scopina, Fertro
French: Millefeuille aquatique
no homeopathic proving so far
Description of the substance
The first photo is kindly offered by Biopix.dk. Thank you very much!
The photos 2 and 3 are posted with kind permission of Bernd Kirchner, RUB. Thank you very much as well!
Hottonia palustris, the water violet, an aquatic European herb of the primrose family
The water violet is a relatively undemanding semi-aquatic plant, widely distributed throughout lowlands of western Europe and northern Asia (Hegi, 1927), verdant even in winter. It favours sunny to penumbral habitats and soft, low limey, moderately acidic water (ph 5.5 – 8.0), muddy ground or nutritious acidic boggy soil, rich in humus. It colonises shallow stagnant to slow flowing freshwater systems.
The flowers have a delicate mossy scent rather like the primrose or the fading perfume of the violet (Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World)
By limiting the growth of the algae in the water the plant shows its immediate competition of the algae for nutrition. These plants are one of the few flowering oxygenators of the water. They favour a water temperature of between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius and grow especially well at a temperature up to 20°C.
The delicate water violet has little capacity for displacement. These tender herbs are a delicacy for the ducks. The remains of their feast sink to the ground and proliferate again. Fish like to choose the gracefully built foliage to affix their spawn and the thick leafy foliage offers shelter to the fish. The plant is often used in cold freshwater fish tanks and man-made ponds. Duckweed and water starwort (type of Callitriches) are quite often socialized as they call for similar qualities in their habitat.
The Hottonia population is characterized by early flowering, a large seed production, early development of maximum biomass, a well-developed vegetative regeneration and the ability to tolerate emergence and frost. The seeds are characterized by their lack of innate dormancy, by the ability to remain viable after desiccation and by the ability to germinate over a relatively wide range of temperatures in the light and in an aerobic environment.
The main axis is dendritically branched and submerged like the leaves. The foliage is alternating, often whorled, up to 8 centimetres long, comb-shaped, pinnatipartite. Underside, it shows a blossom peduncle, and calyx with reddish glandular hair of approx. 0.1 mm length. Inflorescence with axilary ears, protruding upright from the water showing up to 40 centimetres length with whorled layered florets flowering white or pink with a yellow funnel.
The corolla is wide funnel-shaped to flat and effused with 7 to 9 mm lobes. They are rounded, emarginate or individually denticulated. The plant bears a 0.5 centimetre long capsule with backwards curled pedicels.
As in many aquatic herbs, H. palustris is dispersed by seeds and rhizomes and has a prolific capacity for clonal growth (Brock et al., 1989). As a result, even large populations can have unbalanced floral morph ratios or contain only a single morph, similar to other heterostylous aquatic plants (e.g., Eckert and Barrett, 1995; Shibayama and Kadano, 2003). If rosettes become generative, they develop one main 15–50 cm tall inflorescence, which produces up to 40 light- pink flowers. Although flowers are visited by a wide range of insect pollinators, such as several species of the Syrphidae and Empididae, our observations suggest that most pollinators are members of the Apidae (mostly honey bees and bumble bees). Hottonia palustris flowers from mid-May to mid-June and have a heteromorphic incompatibility mechanism (Ganders, 1979). Moreover, it is a distylous species in which the flower morphs differ reciprocally in the heights of the stigmas and anthers, i.e., reciprocal herkogamy (Lloyd and Webb, 1992). Long-styled flowers have their stigma placed outside the corolla tube and anthers placed within the tube, whereas short-styled flowers have their stigma concealed in the corolla tube and anthers protrude slightly beyond the corolla tube. Fruits ripen at the beginning of July, are 3–5 mm long, and contain up to 100 brown seeds.
Germination percentages seem to be higher on a moist substrate than when the seeds are submerged. In the presence of overlying water most of the young seedlings rise to the water surface and may float there for several weeks. For their further development, however, a more or less permanent contact with the substrate seems to be required. Because of these life cycle characteristics, Hottonia palustris is well adapted to grow in the understory of wetland forests and in shallow waters that regularly dry up.
The species is considered to be highly endangered due to land drainage, agriculture, fish farming, lime fertilization, the growth of algae and water pollution and has disappeared in many places (except for the colonized occurrence!). Nowadays there are only a few natural, but many colonised occurrences. In Germany and Switzerland the plant is strictly protected and listed as an endangered species.