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The Basil-leaf Limnophila is widespread in tropical Asia where it occurs along waters and in other wet, partly shaded places. This about 10-50 cm high wetland plant can grow above and under water. Limnophila rugosa looks very different from other Limnophilas in the aquarium hobby. Its freshly green, decoratively hammered (bullate) leaves resemble basil, and indeed, this plant is known in Asia as a spice herb. Its aroma is reminiscent of anise. It was first presented as aquarium plant in an article by Christel Kasselmann in 2010. Until now this decorative stem plant is rather rarely available in the aquarium trade.
Limnophila rugosa has no high demands and grows rather slowly. Medium lighting is sufficient. It grows best in soft to medium hard water, with CO2 addition and good macro- and micronutrient supply. Nutrient deficiency may lead to small holes in the leaves. Its temperature range lies between 15 and 30 °C, with optimum temperatures of 22-28 °C. The stems ramify well, the side shoots are easy to detach and can be used for propagation. Occasional trimming of the main shoots promotes dense, bushy growth.
This exceptional Limnophila species stands out for its light green colour, bullate leaf structure and compact growth. Limnophila rugosa looks best as a group in the midground and is well suited for "plant streets" in Dutch style aquariums.