Do these terms have a scientific meaning??

garyfla_gw(10 Florida)March 9, 2006


While reading the Kew gdns site I found term "bog"

as opposed to "aquatic " to a plant I'd always considered a "true aquatic" To me the term "Bog" suggests that the plant spends a major portion of the year above the waters surface as opposed to always or mostly submerged.

i certainly wouldn't argue with Kew lol but aren't these meaningful terms?? Thanks


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Gary, from my reading I think bog plants are those that can - adapt - to changing conditions ranging from ordinary moist to saturated soil or with a few inches of water over the roots. They can grow yearround in one condition or adapt back and forth. True aquatics' roots must - always - be underwater. Just curious...what was the plant in question?

I grow lots of bog plants in containers because besides their beauty it's easy to saturate pot then forget for a week. But in winter I cut back to keeping barely moist. Everything from Thalia to Taro to Cyperus plants do fine.

I'm sure there is a scientific term for this ability to adapt by bog plants. Maybe they even put out new type roots? Sort of like when we root cuttings in water and then I'm told when the plant is potted in soil it must put out different roots.

Good question...I'm curious about this too. josh

    Bookmark   March 10, 2006 at 2:58AM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

My understanding had always been three distinct catagories.
Bog Very moist to saturated
Aquatic Standing water,floating leaves. Seldom or never totally submerged.
True aquatic. Entire plant always totally submerged. No terrestrial adaptions. nor floating leaves.
A fouth catagory is Amphibious. Adapts to water by growing different leaves or roots. Goes dormant until water recedes. Seldom used at least in my reading.
Sundews Drosera
Waterlily Nymphea
Cabomba Cabomba caroliana.
In the fourth are a bunch of tropical plants but one I'm familiar with is Parrot feather can grow in all catagories .
The plant I was reading the Kew site about is Aponogeton madagascarensis. An old aquarium plant. I have trouble getting them to regrow after dormancy. If it's a "Bog " plant would suggest that at times it is above water.
Have never seen another reference to "BOG " for this plant. Always "true aquatic"
I had always thought these terms had real meaning lol

    Bookmark   March 10, 2006 at 5:08AM
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An aquatic plant to me is a plant that needs constant water to be able to survive. It has adapted itself to aquatic life (ex. stomata on top of leaf instead of bottom side like terrestrial plants, special roots, etc). Examples would be : Nymphea, Lemna, etc.
A bog plant on the other hand is a terrestrial plant that does not suffer sitting in water too long, and has adapted itself to being submerged, either totally or partially .

    Bookmark   March 10, 2006 at 11:52AM
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In addition to the above, bogs are very acidic and nutrient-poor; aquatic environments need not be (the equivalent to a bog, but not acidic, is a fen, marsh or swamp)


    Bookmark   March 10, 2006 at 4:10PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

It seems that others would agree with me that these words refer to a specific environment??
Resin I hadn't realized those terms had specific meanings. So I would know right away that a fen marsh or swamp plant is quite different than a bog plant.??
How about estruary lol

    Bookmark   March 10, 2006 at 4:54PM
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Gary, Your exquisite plant was at the top of my wish list 35 or more years ago when I had an aquarium. At that time it was always among the most expensive and designated "difficult". As a novice, I never attempted growing it, but sure wish you luck...a beautiful plant! josh

    Bookmark   March 10, 2006 at 6:35PM
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another difference might be that bogs are not connected to another body of water. Which is the case for the marshes (which are salty). My understanding of marshes is that they are a part of estuaries, they're a bit more surrounded by land. Both acidity and salinity cause stress in plants and animals. Organisms that live in extreme conditions are so specialized for that condition that they can not go without it. You can not adapt a marsh plant to a 'normal' environement nor to a bog environment, and vice versa.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2006 at 7:40AM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

I have grown most of the Aponogeton family and the lace plant is the most "difficult" Frustrating, because they will grow,even flower very easily. The entire family requires a dormant period but the usuaal treatments for A.ulvaceous and A.bovianus don't work.
i am remodeling my shadehouse and needed a tank for the waterfall and found a 150 aquarium for free.
Found a supplier of the plants for under 5 bucks. So what the heck.
i'm using 4 inch top soil and humus substrate with 2 feet of water.
madagascarensis seems to be endemic to limited areas of Madagascar. This is what surprised me on the Kew site as I find no reference to these rivers drying up though apparently the flow rate changes dramaticly.. Why would the rest period be dry?? Who knows more about plant culture than Kew lol.
I'm hoping to gain enough info so when the dreaded dormancy begins I'll have a method that works.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2006 at 7:42AM
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"So I would know right away that a fen marsh or swamp plant is quite different than a bog plant??"
Overall, the flora of bogs is quite distinct from that of fens, marshes or swamps, but one needs to look at the whole floral community, not just individual plant species. Bog vegetation tends to be shorter, usually less than a metre tall above water level, and often only 10-30 cm tall (due to the acidity and infertility making plant growth difficult). It is often dominated by Sphagnum moss, but can also be dominated by Juncus rushes if not quite so infertile. Another characteristic of bog vegetation (again deriving from its infertility) is the presence of insectivorous plants, though these can be scarce and hard to find. BTW, another term for bog, used mainly in Canada, is 'muskeg'.

Fens etc are more fertile so the vegetation is taller, often 1-3m tall (or more; e.g. the giant reed Arundo donax can reach 8m tall). But if a fen is grazed by livestock, the vegetation can be short, too.

- - - - - -

"another difference might be that bogs are not connected to another body of water"
Not necessarily; often they are not, but a stream might flow through a bog. Only if the stream is also flowing off infertile acidic ground, otherwise the stream brings in nutrients that change the bog into a marsh.

"Which is the case for the marshes (which are salty)"
No  that's saltmarsh, which isn't the same as an ordinary marsh!

Marsh, swamp and fen are more or less synonymous.

Estuaries are river mouths, where a river runs into the sea; they often (but far from always) have saltmarshes on them, and saltmarshes can also occur on coasts away from estuaries.

Inland salt lakes (such as Utah's Great Salt Lake) can also have saltmarshes.


    Bookmark   March 11, 2006 at 10:52AM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

Are you looking for definitions such as these?

TRS Logo

* A commonly used term in Scotland and Ireland for a stretch waterlogged, spongy ground, chiefly composed of decaying vegetable matter, especially of rushes, cotton grass, and sphagnum moss.(Source: WHIT) (Source: European Environment Agency (EEA), European Topic Centre on Catalogue of Data Sources (ETC/CDS): General Multilingual Environmental Thesaurus Term Detail)

* A type of wetland that accumulates appreciable peat deposits. Bogs depend primarily on precipitation for their water source, and are usually acidic and rich in plant residue with a conspicuous mat of living green moss. (Source: Office of Communications, Education, and Media Relations: Terms of Environment: Glossary, Abbreviations, and Acronyms (Revised December 1997) Term Detail)

* Found almost exclusively in glaciated depressions, soils are saturated highly acidic, have low nutrient levels, and are saturated throughout the growing season. Vegetation consists of a variety of emergents, carnivorous plants such as sundew and pitcher plants, and shrubs or small trees occurring on consolidated peat. Bogs usually have an area of open water called the "eye." (Source: EPA/Great Lakes National Program Office: Natural Landscaping for Public Officials: Glossary Term Detail)

These come from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Terminology reference system. I can only use the TRS via a very tedious and circuitous route. (A site called has a link to a Onlook Dictionary which has a link to TRS.) I have not yet found a way to get into TRS and go directily to the definition.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2006 at 5:45PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Whoa we got way off the question lol. When i was reading the Kew gdns site they had a one paragraph mention of A. madagascarensis. They referred to it as a "bog" plant.had they used any other word I wouldn't have paid any attention.
I had always thought "bog" had very specific meanings particularly in reference to flora. most plants can't even survive there and those that do require specific conditions.
Maybe this would explain why the lace plants croak ??lol.
The culture of "bog" plants would be entirely different than "aquatic", obviously.
I have seen limited pix of the streams where they originate., even some data as to environment but not one reference to"bog " This made me think that maybe the stream dries up?? Obviously that would trigger a dormant period in any plant. But I would describe the dried up stream as a "marsh"
I thank everyone for their replies. maybe I'll figure it out someday. lol

    Bookmark   March 12, 2006 at 6:39AM
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That sounds interesting...
good question indeed
Thanks for posting...

Here is a link that might be useful: my home

    Bookmark   March 31, 2006 at 10:04AM
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This is a very good question. Terms like these may be used on our website to decribe situations plants grow in to the layman, but when you look deeper into the term, the defination may become hazy. My understanding is at the Droseras, Sarracenias and Heliamphoras I grow are bog plants but I'm just a nurseryman, I don't interpret them for the general public. If I get a chance in the next couple of weeks I'll bring it to the attention of the website team...
This is why I love this website, people here are passionate about plants and how to grow them.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 3:11PM
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Just out of interest and as an aside, can you either put the page up for viewing or tell me the area this plant is found in Madagascar. I was sent out there a couple of years ago and know a little of their seasons in certain areas, perhaps we can get to the root (lol) of your problems growing it!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 3:19PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Sorry I haven't been reading this forum for a long time . I've seen actual pix of the A. madagascarensis in habitat and seems to be endemic to the SE quadrant of the island of Madagascar. While Aponogetons appear to be quite common. Madagascarensis seems limited to tributaries of larger rivers.
This plant has been very common in Aquariums for many years and there are reams of info on culture but most contradict each other and about the only thing they agree upon is that it's "difficult"lol
The trick is the dreaded dormant period. Most of the family responds to standard treatment from doing nothing to a dark moist period .A. crispus for example will eventually regrow by doing nothing.
For me, none of the "standrd" procedures has worked for mad. These plants grow from bulbs so obviously the bulb must get enough nutients during growth to regenerate. Again no procedure has worked.
My latest attempt started in March and so far have had the best results. It has grown ,flowered and actually set seed which sprouted. So far shows no signs of dromancy in spite of heat and fluctuating pH
I thought maybe if I had some info on the natural environment i could define my own method.
Thanks for any help you can give me!!!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2006 at 7:33AM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Thought I'd mention my results from March with the A.madagascarensis.Growing it in a 150 glass tank that receives only dappled natural sunlight, in 4 inches of topsoil with a small gravel topping to hold the soil in place. It arrived with a flower stalk that promply died.
It grew another, 3 others as a matter of fact that completely opened and actually set seed which sprouted!!
In the past after flowering they would go dormant and rot. This one has slowed down but is still growing new leaves. I have an automatic purge on this tank so depending on the rain at least 200 percent of the water ics chaged weekly. Have had no troubles with algae and the leaves have remained quite sturdy and dark green.
I tried growing some of the sprouts in the seepage area of the setup but all perished . i think the heat was the main problem as the sprouting java ferns are doing well. though i know they frequently emerge from the water.
Also i have a very strong current of around a 1000 gph
in the tank but directed away from the lace plant.
Anyway this is the longest I've maintained a lace plant.
I'm so tempted to check the health of the bulb but will wait for a sign of dormancy first.
Thanks to everyone for the help

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 4:25PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Small update on the A.madagascarensis. Went completely dormant by mid Oct. though there were some stems but no leaves. Around the 1st of Jan it sprouted and has already grown 5 new leaves,longest being 8 inches.!!! Very green and with a lot of substance.
Now if I could just figure out why ?? lol i did absolutely nothing except disturb the area by planting some sword plants.Due to some heavy rains and the purge system and a leaky waterfall i'd estimate the water changes at aroung 20 times over Dec.
I'm so proud of myself lol I saved a 3 dollar plant!!! gary

    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 5:57AM
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Gary, Big congratulations...I could tell you were grinning while posting! I've enjoyed following your experiment...thanks for the update. josh

    Bookmark   February 2, 2007 at 11:47PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Still grinning !! lol It's pushing up 3 flower spikes and has offset into the Cryptocorynes. There may be something to the relationship between the plants. But why?? They aren't even from the same
No cool dry rest period required. Thanks gary

    Bookmark   February 3, 2007 at 5:01AM
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