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A picture of a Water Lettuce

Water Lettuce

Pistia spp.

Also known as

Water Cabbage, Nile Cabbage, Tropical Duckweed, Shell Flower

Water Lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) by Mokkie (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Full Sun
Frequent watering


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size








3 years to reach maturity

More images of Water Lettuce

A photo of Water Lettuce
A close up of some yellow cream Pistia flowers
A close up of a green Pistia plant with yellow cream flowers
A photo of Water Lettuce

Water Lettuce Overview

Pistia is a genus with just 1 species of aquatic, semi-evergreen perennial in the arum family, Araceae. It is known as Pistia stratiotes and this species also has the common names of Water Lettuce and Nile Cabbage, amongst others. Flowers are small, yellow-cream in colour and non-showy, leading onto small, green berries. Thick, soft and hairy leaves are arranged in a rosette. This species is dioecious and thus produces male and female flowers on individual plants. It is typically grown for its attractive foliage, it floats on the water surface and is found in almost all tropical and subtropical fresh waterways. Its classed as an invasive species in many locations.

Special features of Water Lettuce

Attractive leaves

Wet sites

Other uses of Water Lettuce

Grown for its aquatic foliage. It is suitable for tropical aquariums and frost free pools.

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