Syngonanthus sp. “Madeira”

March 11th, 2010

Over the past few years, a number of plants from the Syngonanthus genus have become quite popular in the hobby. One of these is Syngonanthus sp. “Madeira”, a beautiful green stem plant from the Eriocaulaceae family. S. sp. “Madeira” is a delicate plant in mass, but doesn’t seem to be terribly difficult to grow given the proper conditions.

Photo Credit: Jake Adams, editor of

For me, the proper conditions seem to be medium to high light with CO2 and water-column fertilization. Without sufficient iron, this plant tends to appear more pale than when it is in prime health. One of the beautiful things about S. sp. ‘Madeira’ is the shear number of leafs that come out of its crown. Usually it takes a couple months for the plant to adjust to your aquarium, but once it does it’s a pretty faster grower, and bushes out readily after trimming.

Syngonanthus sp.

I’ve also grown this plant in my emersed setup, throwing a bunch of stems in and allowing them to float on the surface. About a week later, a few of the plants sent up flower stalks!

Syngonanthus sp.

When you see the flowers, it’s easy to understand how Syngonanthus is in the Eriocaulaceae family, as the flowers are hat-pin type, just like their cousins in the Eriocaulon genus. The flower stalks are slightly pubescent (hairy), with the bud being indented in the middle.

Syngonanthus sp.

I’m hopeful that these flowers will help us identify the true species for this plant. It’s somewhat probable that several of the Syngonanthus variants being traded, such as Belem, Lago Grande, and Madeira are all actually the same species, but from different localities. Nevertheless, all of these are wonderful aquarium plants that I recommend trying.

6 Responses to “Syngonanthus sp. “Madeira””

  1. Johnny Dinh Says:


    This is actually one of my favorite plants, and when I first acquired it from you at Aquafest 2009, it took off like crazy! I literally had over 30 stems within 2 months. Now, I have just under 10 and it hasn’t seem to be doing as good as it was before. I also have belem and I started out with 3 stems of that and now I have over 30, which seems to be doing a lot better than the madeira.

  2. guitarfish Says:

    Glad you like the Madeira, but I’m sorry to here that it’s not doing as well for you now. Maybe you need to change out your bulbs, or your dosing regimen changed?

  3. Johnny Dinh Says:

    Nothing has really changed. At the time that it was growing really well was when I first set up the grow out tank and I didn’t do any dosing. Maybe now the aqua soil isn’t providing the same amount of nutrients as it did from the initial start?

  4. guitarfish Says:

    JD, I can almost guarantee that’s it.

  5. Johnny Dinh Says:

    Probably, I will be doing a little bit more dosing now and see how it goes. I trimmed the stems to about an inch in height and planted them as if they are a foreground plant. It actually looks pretty cool, but they are starting to perk up like stems.

    How are your tanks doing? Any new cool plants acquired ever since I left?

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