Alisma triviale (Northern Water Plantain)

Plant Info
Also known as: Large-flowered Water Plantain
Family:Alismataceae (Water Plantain)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:sun; bogs, swamps, shallow mucky water, along shores
Bloom season:June - September
Plant height:6 to 40 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: OBL MW: OBL NCNE: OBL
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 3-petals Cluster type: panicle

[photo of flowers] Flowers are whorled in open clusters on many branches coming off the main stem. Individual flowers are about ¼ inch across, 3 white petals with a spot of yellow at the base, 3 sepals that are much shorter than the petals, and 6 stamens surrounding the yellowish to green center.

Leaves: Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are in a basal rosette, generally oval with a pointed tip, tapering some, rounded or flattened at the base. Leaves are up to 7 inches long and 3 inches wide, hairless, toothless, with mostly parallel veins and a long smooth leaf stalk.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed without plume

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a ring of seeds less than ¼ inch in diameter that turns from green to brown as it ripens.


There are 3 species of Water-plantain in Minnesota, Alisma triviale being the most common. A. subcordatum has smaller flowers with sepals as long as or longer than the petals, but is otherwise nearly identical. A. gramineum has very narrow leaves and is the least common in the state. Water-plantain flowers are also similar to Arrowhead, but Arrowhead flowers are much larger—½ to 1 inch across.

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More photos

Photos taken at Vadnais/Snail Lake Regional Park, Shoreview, MN, June-July 2008 and July-August 2009. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka county.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Joel - Olmsted county
on: 2014-01-06 11:52:05

In doing plant surveys at Indian Heights park in Rochester, MN, we documented Northern Water Plaintain. Interestingly, it was in a wet area of a former quarry on top of the hill!

Posted by: Kimberly - Pipestone County
on: 2016-07-27 16:19:25

A half dozen plants found on private property along the Chanarambie Creek, just northwest of Edgerton.

Posted by: Susan - Credit River Township
on: 2017-08-23 12:56:41

I have several of these plants on my property near the Credit River in Savage, MN. They are blooming now.

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