Water Cabbage
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Water Cabbage
ative Photo: Prashant Awale
Common name: Water Cabbage, Nile cabbage, tropical duckweed, water lettuce • Assamese: বৰপুনী barpuni, জলকুম্ভী jalakumbhi • Bengali: টাকাপানা takapana • Gujarati: જલકુંભી jalakumbhi, જલશંખલા jalshankhala • Hindi: जलकुम्भी jalakumbhi • Kannada: ಅಂತರಗಂಗೆ antaragange, ಕುಂಬಿಕ kumbika • Malayalam: ആകാശതാമര akasathamara, കോടപ്പായൽ kodappayal, മുട്ട പായൽ mutta payal, നീര്‍ചീര neercheera • Manipuri: ꯀꯡꯖꯥꯑꯣ Kangjao ꯀꯕꯣꯀꯡ Kabokang • Marathi: आकाशमूली akashamuli, जलमांडवी jalamandavi, पाणकुंभी paankumbhi • Nepali: जलकुम्भी jalakumbhi • Odia: ଆକାଶମୂଳୀ akashamuli • Sanskrit: आकाशमूली akashamuli, जलकुम्भिका jalakumbhika • Tamil: ஆகாசத்தாமரை akasha-t-tamarai, அந்தரத்தாமரை antara-t-tamarai, குழித்தாமரை kuli-t-tamarai • Telugu: అంతరతామర antara-tamara, బుడగ తామర budaga tamara, ఆకాశతామర akashatamara, నీరాకు neeraaku, నీరు బుడికి nirubudiki, తూడికూర tudikura • Tulu: ಅಂತರಗಂಗೆ antaragange, ನೀರಟ nirata Source: Names of Plants in India
Botanical name: Pistia stratiotes    Family: Araceae (Arum family)

Water Cabbage is an aquatic herb which floats on the surface of the water. Its roots hang inside water beneath floating leaves. The thick, soft leaves form a rosette. The leaves can be up to 14 cm long and have no stem. They are light green, with parallel veins, wavy margins and are covered in short hairs which form basket-like structures which trap air bubbles, increasing the plant's buoyancy. The flowers are small, hidden in the middle of the plant amongst the leaves. Male and female flowers are on different plants. Small green berries form after successful fertilization. The plant can also undergo asexual reproduction. Mother and daughter plants are connected by a short stolon, forming dense mats. Due to its growth habit, the plant spreads easily can be invasive.

Identification credit: Dinesh Valke, Gurcharan Singh Photographed in Nagpur.

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