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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a cichlid man at heart, but love to keep them in low tech planted tanks. With my less-than-optimal conditions - for the plants - I haven't had too many plants flower in my tanks. But whenever that happened, they used to grow a stem that would lift the flower up above the water level. However, right now I have an Anubias sp. flower in my 125G - a Tropheus tank, no less - and it is flowering with the flower submerged well below the water level. Is that normal, and is there any point in a plant creating a submerged flower, meaning can pollination occur in the water? :-?

Anubias sp. with submerged flower.

1,148 Posts
I've had mine flower once or twice, but not since...
I found this on "thekrib" website. Maybe it would be of interest.

"Flowering Anubias
by (Uwe Behle)
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 1994
Nicholas Plummer ( wrote:
: Over the last couple of weeks, one of my _Anubias nana_ appears to have
: been trying to flower. It has sent up a short spike from the rhizome
: between two old leaves. The end of the spike has a single bud. The bud has
: not yet opened, but it looks like it will turn into something similar to
: the flower (is "spathe" the technical term?) of a peace lily
: (Spathiphyllum).

: Is it common for Anubias plants to flower while growing submersed? I was
: under the impression that since Anubias are typically only submersed during
: floods, they only flowered when grown emersed. I think this is what the
: Rataj and Horeman plant book said. I assume this is a sign that the plant
: is happy, but I guess it could be the last gasp of a dying plant. I know
: that abused orchids will sometimes flower one last time before giving up
: the ghost.
: Nick

This seems to happen a lot with the A. nana and A. barteri. Unfortunately
the flowers rot after a while and you have to remove them. The flowers
keep coming back. I had plants with two flower stems on them, one from each
end of the rhizome.
If you want to grow seeds you need to make sure that the humidity in the air
part of the tank is 100% and that the flower can reach above the surface.
Also it helps to have two or more A nana; the flowers are protected against
self fertilization by the spathe.
By the way, the A. nana grows mainly submersed in the natural habitat; as
a matter of fact it grows much better under water than emersed.


NAME Uwe Behle, HP Boeblingen Instruments Division
EMAIL (internet), (packet radio)"

And this found on the Tropica site:

"Anubias barteri var. nana is a small, attractive plant which thrives in all conditions. It grows slowly, and the leaves survive for several years, giving slow-growing algae the chance to become established. The best result is achieved by planting on a stone or tree root. Fishing line can be used to attach the plant until it gains a hold. If planted on the bottom the rhizome must not be covered because it tends to rot. It flowers frequently under water. It is not eaten by herbivorous fish."

Hope this helps.

Super Moderator
4,129 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Many thanks for your input! I had also noticed the similarity to the flowers of piece lilies! It sounds like one poster thinks that pollination can not occur submerged, since he says it's important for the flower to reach out of the water if seeds are to develop. I'd like to have this confirmed by at least one more plant expert, and have posted this question on the Planted Tank Forums as well.
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