Shinnersia rivularis – Mexican Oak Leaf

Shinnersia rivularis (A. Gray, 1849) R.M. King & H.E. Robinson, 1970

Common Names: Acorn Hygrophila, Water Oak, Sombrero Fern, Loop Leafed Rotala, Fajita Plant, Yucatan Hygro, Acapulco Rose or Acorn Val.
Family Asteraceae - sunflower family

Genus Shinnersia

It appears to be the only species in its genus.

Location: Mexico, and a few spots in Texas. (e.g. San Felipe Springs in Del Rio two locations in Texas and a few more in northern Coahuila and northern Nuevo Leon)

Temperature: 18-30°C (64-86°F), pH: 5.5-8.5 (but prefers acid to neutral)

Nutrients: not required, but will like some added fertilizer

Propagation: Place cuttings into substrate This plant will root freely.

Ponds: Can go into ponds but do not plant over 1m (3ft) deep.

Description: This is a stem plant, very similar to Hygrophila polysperma. The plant gets its name from the fact that the leaves are somewhat oak leaf shaped. The leaves are sort of lobed on both sides.  Each side has 2 lobes. Leaves are not big being only 1-1 ½” long and up to ¾” wide.  When the plant reaches the surface it grows differently. The leaves grow in a bunch and become somewhat roselike. The lower part of the plant is a light green.The upper leaves tend to become reddish. It has flowers on white heads usually above the water.

This is a very fast growing plant. As such, it needs a fair amount of upkeep. If you want to keep your plant under the water, then you need to trim it regularly.

I got this plant at the fall Kitchener auction.  It was actually the only item we bought. When we came home, this plant was placed into a 20 gallon tank that I kept my Pseudocrenilabrus nicholsi in. There was also 2 female Pelvicachromis taeniatus and a few white clouds. The bottom was covered in a light coloured small gravel. The tank is lit by 2 fluorescent tubes. The plant didn’t like being in the bag and I lost a fair amount of leaves from the Shinnersia at first. Some end up floating as pieces broke from the stems that got pushed into the gravel.  However, once they’d been in the aquarium for a month or so, they began to grow very nicely. New leaves came out and the stems started growing. Some are trying to grow out of the water. As the tank is not covered, I don’t have a problem with this, and would like to see the “roses” that they can create.  This plant has more than doubled for me, and soon I can start putting some in our auction, or giving them away.

© Copyright 2007 Lisa Boorman
All Rights Reserved

Suggested Reading:

Aquarium Plants : Their Identification, Cultivation and Ecology by Karel Rataj & Thomas J. Horeman

Aquarium Plants Manual by Ines Scheurmann

To check other plant references:

Plant and Pond Book List

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