Scientific Name: Hydrocotyle leucocephala
Origin: Southern Mexico to Northern Argentina
Height: 4 to 8 inches (up to 24 in)
Width: 2 to 6 inches, based on leaf growth
Growth Rate: Fast
Placement: Mid to Background, also Floating
Lighting Needs: Low
Temperature: 68 to 82° F (20-28° C)
pH: 6.0-7.8 Hardness: 9-13 dGH
Origin and Distribution:
A rapid grower, Brazilian Pennywort quickly reaches eight inches or more in height. It is one of the easiest aquarium plants to grow and is suitable for many aquarium setups, from full aquatic to bog settings.
Brazilian Pennywort is very similar to another marsh plant, Cardamine lyrata (also known as Japanese Cress). The Japanese Cress has smaller leaves, while the Brazilian Pennywort is faster growing and less demanding.
It can also be planted in the substrate, where it makes a great mid or background stem plant. If weighed down, it can be trailed across driftwood or other surfaces. When used as a stem plant, it looks particularly attractive in bunches of a half dozen stems of differing heights, placed together. Regardless of how it is planted, Brazilian Pennywort will grow towards the surface, the lower leaves dropping off as the plant gets taller and shades the lower leaves.
Brazilian Pennywort can also be used as a bog plant in paludariums, and will flower regularly above water, as long as sufficient humidity is maintained. Another interesting use of this plant is seen in the tropics, where it has been used as a medicinal herb. The edible plant has also been used as a spice; the leaves reportedly have a peppery flavor.
When iron is low, the leaves will turn yellow at the edges. Overall growth will be slower, and leaf size smaller when nutrients are lacking. Very soft water tends to slow growth, while harder water promotes lush growth. Brazilian Pennywort grows best when provided with nutrient rich water, carbon dioxide, and high lighting conditions. However, it will continue to grow even when those factors are in short supply.