Alisma triviale

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: northern water plantain 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Alismataceae
Native Range: North America
Zone: 5 to 10
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun
Water: Wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Water Plant, Naturalize, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy


Easily grown in wet soils in full sun. Needs full sun for best flowering. Plant tuber-like corms in boggy soils, on wet pond or stream margins or in shallow water (2-6”). Plant corms in containers for use in water gardens. Freely self-seeds in optimum growing conditions, sometimes to the point of being very aggressive.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Alisma triviale, commonly called water plantain, is a rhizomatous, Missouri native, marginal aquatic perennial that typically occurs along the muddy margins of or emersed in shallow water near the edges of ponds, streams, sloughs, marshes and ditches. Plants growing in water typically exhibit lax, often narrow, foliage whereas plants growing on muddy margins exhibit erect foliage. Whorls of tiny white flowers (1/4” diameter) appear in summer in large, branched panicles atop flowering stems growing well above the foliage to 2-3’ tall. Flowering stems rise from the centers of basal rosettes of long-stalked, broad ovate to lance-shaped, gray-green leaves (blades typically to 6-8” long).

Synonymous with Alsima plantago-aquatica var. americanum.

Genus name comes from the classical Greek name for this plant.

Specific epithet means common or ordinary.

Common name is in reference to the similarity of the leaves to those of the unrelated true plantains (genus Plantago).


No serious insect or disease problems.


Water gardens. Pond or stream margins. Boggy, marshy areas.