Quick Guide to British Native Aquatic Plants

How to Pick British Native Aquatic Plants

For years proponents of the British water garden have been very conscious about the spread of non-indigenous plants, and the effect on local ecosystems and growing economies.

When buying aquatic plants for both your ponds and indoor aquariums look at the labeling for a Union Jack or similar to denote that its native to Britain. Here is a quick reference guide to help you choose common British native plants.

Frogbit - Hydrocharis morsus

Frogbit | Hydrocharis morsus

Hydrocharis Morsus Ranae commonly known as Frogbit is a pretty little native plant with small kidney-shaped, bright green leaves and very small white flowers. Frogbit is widely available in stores and online.

Water Violet
- Hottonia palustris

Water Violet | Hottonia palustris

Water violet, Hottonia palustris is a pretty, native oxygenator hardy perennial with light pink flowers and a fern like foliage which flower between May and June. Water violet prefers calm clear shallow water which is soft and acidic.


Hornwort - Ceratophylum demersum

Ceratophyllum demersum, commonly known as hornwort, rigid hornwort, coontail, or coon's tail, is a species of Ceratophyllum. It is a submerged, free-floating aquatic plant regarded as an oxygenator for ponds and fish tanks.



Water Lily - Nymphaea varieties

Waterlillies have for many years been a staple plant for pondkeepers in the UK, with many native varieties. Smaller water lily, like Nuphar lutea, the yellow water lily, is a plant that will also work for aquariums as a floating plant if the leaves are cut back regularly.

yellow water lily 


Willow Moss - Fontinalis antipyretica

willow moss

Willow moss, Fontinalis antipyretica, is a large-leaved aquatic moss that can be successfully grown both underwater and above in the right damp conditions.


Spiked Milfoil - Myriophyllum spicatum

Spiked milfoil, Myriophyllum spicatum, is a fine-leaved plant that is very popular among pondkeepers as an oxygenating plant and is also sold regularly as an aquarium plant in small bunches.

spiked milfoil


Common Starwort - Callitriche stagnalis

Callitriche stagnalis, also known as common water starwort is a perennial aquatic plant species that is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It is typically found in shallow water, usually less than 10 cm deep, and can spread to the surface to form mats.

common starwort


Mares Tail - Hippuris vulgaris

mares tail

Mare’s tail, also known as Hippuris vulgaris, is an aquatic plant that is commonly found in non-acidic shallow water environments such as ponds, ditches, and mudflats. Mare’s tail is known for its oxygenating capabilities and is an ideal candidate as a pond marginal plant bearing fluffy, fine leaves underwater and a rigid structural form above.


Curled Pondweed - Potamogeton crispus

curled pondweed

Curled pondweed, Potamogeton crispus, has substantial leaves with crinkly edges  It is a perennial aquatic plant with leaves that are long, thin, and typically float on the water’s surface. They are lanceolate in shape, with smooth edges and have a distinctive wavy or crisped margin.


Water Crowfoot - Ranunculus aquatilis

Ranunculus aquatilis, also known as Water Crowfoot, is a short-lived aquatic perennial that is native to most of Europe, western North America, and northwest Africa. The plant has submerged leaves that are divided into thread-like segments and toothed floater leaves. It produces solitary white flowers that measure 2cm across in summer. Water Crowfoot is a popular choice for gardeners looking to add a touch of elegance to their ponds and water features.

Water crowfoot


To browse our range of pond plants online please click here.

To browse our range of aquarium plants please click here.

To browse our range of oxygenating plants please click here.

Photo credit(s): Canva pro licence


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