Oenanthe javanica 'Flamingo'

Common Name: water celery 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Apiaceae
Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 2.50 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Water Plant, Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Wet Soil


Easily grown in medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade. More floriferous in full sun. Spreads rapidly by stolons rooting at the nodes and by self-seeding, sometimes forming colonies. It can be somewhat invasive, particularly when grown in rich moist soils.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Oenanthe javanica, commonly known as Java water dropwort, water celery, Indian pennywort, or Chinese celery, is a stoloniferous, fibrous-rooted, decumbent-stemmed, low-growing, herbaceous perennial which typically grows to 9-28” tall. It is native to grassy forest margins, marshes, wet meadows, lakeshores, muddy river/stream banks, ditches, and areas of shallow water over a large geographic area extending from Mongolia, China, Japan and Korea south into the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, the Philippines, New Guinea and northern Australia. Flora of Missouri currently lists this plant as an introduced and naturalized species in the State of Missouri. It is commonly known in Missouri as water celery.

Plants produce large, 1-2 pinnate, compound leaves which grow to 4-12” long and 3-8” wide, with lobed, ovate leaflets (each to 2” long). Tiny, five-petaled white flowers bloom in summer in flat-topped umbels to 1-2” across. Young stems and leaves are edible either raw or cooked. Culinary uses include seasoning in soups and salads. Flavor is reminiscent of carrots or parsley. Root may be cooked (esteemed in Japan). Garnish.

Flora of China reports in regard to this species that the “complex nomenclature history reflects the taxonomic problems with these morphologically very variable widespread plants. Leaf morphology is particularly variable.”

Genus name comes from the Greek words oinos meaning wine and anthos meaning flower in reference to the wine-like aroma of the flowers.

Specific epithet means of Java in reference to the Indonesian Island of Java which is part of the native range of this plant.

‘Flamingo’, sometimes commonly known as variegated water celery, features tricolor foliage (bluish-green leaflets edged in pink and white). It is a creeping perennial that spreads over time to 24” wide or more.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Ground cover. Ponds or bog gardens. Watersides. Wet areas. Moist open woodland areas. Containers. Great ground cover. Also effective as a shallow water plant in ponds.