Water for Wildlife: Plant List

By: Sabrina Howell

Sabrina Howell remembers: “As a child, there was always wild water to muck about in.” And while raising her children,…

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Japanese iris (Iris ensata) Photo: Wikimedia commons

Japanese iris (Iris ensata) Photo: Wikimedia commons

Think beyond the lovely water lily. There is a wonderful array of foliage, color, and texture among plants that will grow in water. Here are some that might surprise you:

Society garlic (Tulbaghia violacea)

Elephant’s ear aka taro (Colocasia esculenta)

Curly willow (Salix matsudana ‘Tortuosa’)

Variegated fortnight lily (Dietes iridioides ‘Variegata’)

Japanese iris (Iris ensata)

Louisiana iris (Iris louisiana)

Australian violet (Viola hederacea)

Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia)



Watercress (Nasturtium officinale)

Water chestnut (Eleocharis tuberosa)

Water celery (Oenanthe javanica ‘Flamingo’)


California native water plants:

Water plantain (Alisma plantago-aquatica)

Yerba mansa (Anemopsis californica)

Horsetail (Equisetum hyemale)

California grey rush (Juncus patens)

Mare’s tail (Hippuris vulgaris)

Duckweed (Lemna minor)

Bog bean (Menyanthes trifoliata)

Giant arrowhead (Sagittaria montevidensis)

Tule (Schoenoplectus acutus)

Fiber optic grass (Scirpus cernuus)

Yellow eyed grass (Sisyrinchium californicum)

Fringe cups (Tellima grandiflora)