How to Plant Water Lotus Seed

After your seeds are scored and sprouted, learn how to plant your new water lotus seedlings.

2014 – Costa Rica – Poas Volcano – Baby 1 of 2
A young "Poor Man’s Umbrella".
The area around the Poas Volcano Crater was replete with the plants.

Gunnera insignis (Gunneracea/Haloragaceae Family)
“Poor Man’s Parasol, Poor Man’s Umbrella, ‘Sombrilla de pobre’, Giant Rhubarb”

Taxonomic Description: An herbaceous plant with a thick stem, which can be up to 30cm in length. The plant has large, rough, heart-shaped leaves, between 1 and 2 meters in diameter. Red scales form at the base of these leaves. The large leaves have channels on their surface to aid in shedding water quickly to avoid the growth of molds and fungi on its leaves. The flowerhead of the plant is triangular and can grow up to one meter with many small branches, with small flowers on each branch. The bottom flowers are usually female, with the top flowers being male. The flowers in-between are sometimes bisexual. The fruits bear one seed each. The leaves, stem and seeds can be poisonous if ingested. The plant is thought to have been in existence since the late cretaceous period.

Growth Form/Habitat/Soil: Grows in acidic soils, with a symbiotic relationship with the nitrogen- fixing cynobacteria, Nostoc. The cynobacteria enters the plant in the plant’s seedling stage through mucus-secreting glands at nodes on the stem of the plant. Gunnera insignis is native to wet subtropical areas grows mostly on mountain ranges and exposed ridges in full to partial sun.

Distribution: Grows abundantly from Nicaragua to Columbia, including Costa Rica, at an elevation between 1,000m to 2,600m. This plant is used ornamentally in gardens in the U.S., but requires above-average watering to mimic its natural habitat. This plant is not considered threatened or endangered.

Propagation: Gunnera insignis is propagated by seed, but little information can be found on how the plant is fertilized or how the seeds are distributed.

Uses: Mostly ornamental within the United States, the plant can be used as an umbrella (hence its common name) in more tropical climates. There are no references to medicinal use of this plant.
By Ted’s photos – For Me & You on 2014-04-21 11:18:12