©Philip Precey


Scientific name: Alisma plantago-aquatica
Water-plantain is an aquatic plant of shallow water and muddy banks. In bloom over summer, it displays tall branches of loosely clustered, pale lilac flowers.

Species information


Height: up to 1m

Conservation status


When to see

June to September


Water-plantain is a long-stalked, tall, aquatic plant that is often found in shallow water or along the muddy banks of slow-moving watercourses. It is in bloom from June to September, displaying small, pale lilac flowers and thin, branching stems. These stalks become hardy and woody once the flowers have died. Like other aquatic plants, it offers resting and sheltering places for aquatic insects like caddis flies and alder flies.

How to identify

Water-plantain has oval leaves with long stalks and parallel veins, and small, pink-tinged flowers that sit in loose clusters on branching stems.


Found throughout the UK, but scarcer in North Scotland.

Did you know?

The flowers of Water-plantain are open in the afternoon and early evening, attracting small flies.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.