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Belonging to the evening primrose family, Onagraceae, and the water primrose genus, Ludwigia, mosaic plant, also called mosaic flower or false loosestrife, is one of the very few members of this genus that belongs south of the equator. Of Onagraceae’s 655 species and Ludwigia’s 75 species, the vast majority are found in temperate North America. Mosaic plant is an outlier of both its family and genus – it is native to South America, primarily Venezuela, Panama, Columbia, and Brazil. As such, it thrives in warm, sunny, damp conditions.

Its unique appearance is what has led to its worldwide popularity as a garden pond and bog plant. The leaves of mosaic plant whorl outward in a circular basal rosette that floats atop the water’s surface, with each diamond-shaped leaf resembling a tiny, intricate tile within a mosaic pattern. To further this likeness, when in full sun the leaves will go from being entirely green to having deeply red-tinted edges, as though painted. Some of the leaves toward the outside of the rosette may turn entirely red.

The yellow, buttercup-like flowers that bloom throughout summer draw in beneficial pollinators like various bees and butterflies. Since mosaic plant floats atop the water’s surface and extends its roots to the bottom of the waterbody, it’s able to absorb excess nutrients and pollutants throughout the water column.

The floating rosettes also help to shade the water, reduce algae, and provide cover for any pond residents from predators. Absolutely do not plant this in natural waterways, only your own garden pond, as it can become invasive and the damages will far exceed any potential ecosystem benefits.

Mosaic floating plant (Ludwigia Sedioides)

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