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Nelsonia canescens is still new, rare and hardly known as aquarium plant. It is closely related to the Staurogyne species. This herbaceous plant is widespread in Africa, tropical Asia and Australia and also introduced in tropical America. It occurs in several open, often disturbed, dry to wet places such as grassland at rivers, floodplains, also as a weed in cultivated land. Australian aquarists found out that it can be grown submerged, and it got known there as aquarium plant under the synonym Nelsonia campestris. In its terrestrial form, the plant grows with prostrate stems and develops spike-like inflorescences. There are several variants with white, light to deeply blue or blueish purple flowers; our strain of N. canescens has whiteish flowers. Emersed stems and leaves are villous, therefore the English name "Blue Pussyleaf". The egg-shaped leaves are about 2 to 6 cm long. Submerged shoots grow rather upright with light green, glabrous leaves.
Until now, few information is available about the demands of Nelsonia canescens, but it does not seem to be a difficult plant. Medium to strong lighting, good macro- and micronutrient supply, CO2 addition as well as temperatures above 20 °C are recommended. It can be propagated by cuttings. Nelsonia canescens grows well as a terrestrial plant in moderately moist bottom.
This new aquarium plant can be used like Hygrophila species, as a bush in the midground to background. Nelsonia canescens is also interesting as emersed plant for terrariums and paludariums that imitate a waterside biotope.