Water Hawthorn

Aponogeton distachyos

Cape Pondweed, Water Hyacinth, Cape Asparagus, Hawthorn-Scented Pondweed, Cape Pond-Lily, Cape-Hawthorn, Riverine-Weed, Waterblommetjie, Vleikos

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The Cape pond weed is a deciduous or partially evergreen, perennial, aquatic flowering plant. It has long oval/egg-shaped or lance-shaped floating leaves and unbranched, small, edible, fragrant white flowers with purple anthers. Waterblommetjies flower in profusion during winter and spring. Bees are very attracted to the flowers and may be one of the main pollinators. It is adapted to growing in ponds and vleis which dry up in summer. The dormant tubers sprout again as soon as the pools fill in autumn. This is a well known local delicacy for the cold winter months. It has become so popular that many commercial plantings have been made in ponds around the Western Cape.
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Planning

Difficulty

Easy

Flowering time

Spring, Summer, Winter

Fruiting time

Spring, Winter

Harvesting

Allow seedheads to dry on plants and then remove and collect seeds. Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds.

Propagation

Tubers

Plant new tubers in a pot with loam and place it in shallow water until the plants starts growing strong. The pot can then slowly be moved to deeper water in the sun. They seed themselves.

Special features

Attracts useful insects

Bees

Wet sites

It is adapted to growing in ponds and vleis which dry up in summer.

Attractive flowers

Attracts bees

Special features

Origin

South Africa, Western Cape, Boland

Natural climate

Mediterranean

Environment

Light

Full Sun

Soil moisture

Wet

Soil type

Clay, Loam, Sand

Soil PH preference

Neutral

Frost hardiness

Hardy

Uses

Edible

Flowers

Notes

Culinary. Ornamental.

Personality

Family

Aponogetonaceae

Flower colour

White

Scent

Mild

Problems

Generally pest and disease free.

Credits

profile iconAponogeton distachyos
by Liesl van der Walt, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, August 2000 (Copyright South African National Biodiversity Institute, South Africa)
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Knowledge and advice

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