Examples of Stoloniferous Plants

Stoloniferous plants are generally found in habitats where water is abundant or soil is very wet during the season when stolons are formed. For example, one notable California wetland species that spreads via stolons is yerba mansa, Anemopsis californica (Family Saururaceae). Widespread stoloniferous herbs of wet habitats are the buttercup Ranunculus flammula (Family Ranunculaceae) and mudwort, Limosella subulata (Family Scrophulariaceae).

  1. Among aquatic plants are the highly successful floating aquatic water hyacinth, Eichhornia crassipes (Family Pontederiaceae), in which thick, white stolons enable this species to clone at an alarming high rate. Other wideranging and highly competitive stoloniferous floating aquatics are water soldier (Stratiotes aloides) (Hydrocharitaceae), water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes, Family Araceae), Hydrocharis morsus-ranae (Hydrocharitaceae), and Potentilla palustris (Family Rosaceae). Wetlands also may include marsh claytonia (Claytonia palustris, Family Portulacaceae), tinker's penny (Hypericum anagalloides, Family Hypericaceae), and the fireweed Epilobium palustre (Family Onagraceae). Myosotis scorpioides is a stolon-like plant of shallow water. In tidal coastal salt marsh, the fleshy Jaumea carnosa and the saltgrass Distichlis spicata both may spread via stolons.
  2. In addition to species of strawberry (Fragaria), other stoloniferous herbs of the rose family (Rosaceae) can be found. Species that appear in the flora of California are Indian strawberry (Duchesnea indica) and Geum reptans. Rosaceous stoloniferous herbs are successful in a variety of habitats, including sand dunes and wet mountain meadows. Acaena can be a colonizer of new habitats via stolons.
  3. Woodland and high elevation habitats may have stoloniferous species of pussytoes, Antennaria (Family Asteraceae). In the southern Southern Hemisphere, e.g., in Patagonia, can be found the small-leaved stoloniferous species of Gunnera, e.g., G. magellanica.
  4. Saxifraga stolonifera (Family Saxifragaceae) is an interesting shade-loving woodland perennial that forms thin red stolons during spring growth.
  5. The cultivated white or Irish potato (Solanum tuberosum, Family Solanaceae) forms its edible tuber at the tip of a stolon. The stolons grows from an axillary bud at the base of the shoot, and its tip, forming a tuber, becomes buried in the leaf litter and loose soil around the plant, where the tuber develops.
  6. Hens and chickens, Sempervivum (Family Crassulaceae), form dense mats of leaf succulent rosettes via stolons.
  7. Grass species commonly used as turfgrass are stoloniferous, and they also spread via aggressive creeping rhizomes.
  8. Lawns can be formed by the stolon-producing Dichondra, a dicotyledon. Several other dicotyledons herbs found in the lawns of North America spread via stolons, including a weedy sorrel, Oxalis corniculatus and the nitrogen-fixing white clover, Trifolium repens.
  9. Other stoloniferous species that you may encounter include clump-forming species of Episcia (Family Gesneriaceae) in tropical forests or Shortia (Family Diapensiaceae) in cool temperate areas.

[Return to Stolon Main Menu]