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  Eleocharis dulcis (Burm.f.) Trin. ex Hensch.
  Family Name : Cyperaceae

  Common Names : Chinese water chestnut

  Chinese Name : 马蹄, 荸荠

Chinese water chestnut
  • Record Info
  • Life Stage & Characteristics
    • Plant Division :
      Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Monocotyledon)
      Plant Growth Form :
      Aquatic & Hydrophyte
      Lifespan (in Singapore) :
  • Biogeography
    • Native Distribution :
      West Africa, Madagascar, Southeast Asia (including Singapore), Australia, the Moluccas, and Papua New Guinea
      Native Habitat :
      Aquatic (Freshwater Pond / Lake / River; Brackish Pond / Lake / River)
      Preferred Climate Zone :
      Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
      Local Conservation Status :
      Native to Singapore (Common)
  • Description & Ethnobotany
    • Plant Morphology :
      Growth Form: It is a perennial herb with short rhizomes (horizontal stems).
      Stems: The plant is leafless. Due to the absence of leaves, photosynthesis in the plants is carried out by the culms or stems. Culms are erect, grayish green, cylindric, smooth and hollow in the middle, 15-60 cm tall.
      Flowers: Its clustered flowers (spikelets) are cylindrical, straw-coloured, and 0.6–1.25 cm long.
      Fruits: Its nut (fruit) is drop-shaped to broadly drop-shaped and white.
      [Others]: The plants have elongated stolons with a tuber attached to it at its bottom. There are two types of tubers: the first type for propagation and the second for storage. The second type of corms is the edible water chestnut. The corms/tubers are rounded turnip-shaped bulbs with a brown skin. the bright white flesh inside taste sweet.
      Habitat :
      It grows in open wet places, fresh water swamps, pools, ponds, and rice-fields up to 1350 m altitude. It occurs locally in Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.
      Associated Fauna :
      It is the preferred local food plant for the caterpillars of the moth sugarcane top borer (Scirpophaga nivella).
      Cultivation :
      It can be propagated by seed, division of the rhizomes, or planting of the corms.
      Etymology :
      Greek Eleocharis, marsh-favouring, referring to the habitat of the plant; Latin dulcis, sweet, referring to the sweet-tasting corms.
      Ethnobotanical Uses :
      Edible Plant Parts (Edible Storage Organs)
      Food (Fruit & Vegetable: The corms are eaten raw and cooked. They are used as stuffing, in soup, chop suey and in salads or served boiled or steamed as a vegetable dish. The tubers are used in the production of starch.)
      Medicinal (The corms are used in Chinese medicine to treat measles, to improve the vision and to cure eye diseases. The plant is used as a haemostatic or a styptic and the pith as a diuretic.)
      [Others]: The plant is used to make mats in Sumatra though the mats are not durable over long periods of time.
  • Plant Care & Propagation
    • Light Preference :
      Full Sun
      Water Preference :
      [Remarks] (The soil should be kept flooded with 100mm to 300mm of water throughout the growing period.), Lots of Water
      Plant Growth Rate :
      Maintenance Requirements :
      Propagation Method :
      Seed, Storage Organ (Corm; Rhizome), Division
The information given on this website has been compiled from reference works on medicinal plants and/or pron only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Reliance on this information is strictly at your own risk. You should always consult your physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.

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