Ottelia ovalifolia subsp. ovalifolia

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Native

Leaves with petiole up to 60(–120) cm long, reddish, winged basally, terete to plano-convex in section distally, glabrous; lamina elliptic to ovate, 2–16 cm long, floating at water surface, mid-green, 5–7 longitudinal veins and numerous cross-connecting veins, more prominent on lower surface than on upper; margin entire; apex obtuse; juvenile leaves submerged and strap-like. Flowers sessile within green to purplish, 2-lobed, united floral bracts, of two kinds (see notes below). Chasmogamous flowers are emergent or floating, open, showy, c. 5 cm across; stalks up to 38 cm long; outer perianth segments green, 17–25 mm long; inner perianth segments white, with dark red-purple at base, c. 30 mm long; stamens 6–12, in 3 groups of 4 or variously reduced; styles 6–9, about as long as anthers. Cleistogamous flowers submerged on shorter stalks, unopen, with shorter perianth. Seeds 2.5–3 mm long.

CVU, DunT, EGL, EGU, GipP, Glep, Gold, GGr, HNF, HSF, LoM, MuF, MuM, MSB, NIS, OtP, OtR, RobP, VRiv, VVP, WaP, WPro, Wim. Except for the far north-west and alps, rather common in dams, lakes, billabongs and slow-moving rivers almost throughout the State.

Two kinds of flowers are present. Chasmogamous flowers are emergent or floating, large, open and showy, whereas cleistogamous flowers remain submerged on shorter stalks, within the united floral bracts, and self-pollination occurs inside the unopen flower (see Aston 1973 for further details). The identification of young plants is difficult because juvenile leaves are thin and strap-like, similar to those of Vallisneria but that genus has a more obtuse leaf-apex (with very fine, minute teeth) and a stoloniferous habit. The adult floating leaves are similar to those of Aponogelon distachyos, although the latter has a tuber-like rhizome buried in the substrate and the flowers arranged in a simple or divided spike.

Created by: Andre Messina, 2016-08-04
Updated by: Daniel Ohlsen, 2017-06-07
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Lilianae
order Alismatales
genus Ottelia
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Ottelia ovalifolia subsp. ovalifolia in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Ottelia ovalifolia subsp. ovalifolia in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Lowan Mallee present native
Murray Mallee present native
Wimmera present native
Glenelg Plain present native
Victorian Volcanic Plain present native
Victorian Riverina present native
Murray Scroll Belt present native
Robinvale Plains present native
Murray Fans present native
Gippsland Plain present native
Otway Plain present native
Warrnambool Plain present native
Goldfields present native
Central Victorian Uplands present native
Greater Grampians present native
Dundas Tablelands present native
Northern Inland Slopes present native
East Gippsland Lowlands present native
East Gippsland Uplands present native
Wilsons Promontory present native
Highlands-Southern Fall present native
Highlands-Northern Fall present native
Otway Ranges present native

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
Northern Territory
South Australia
New South Wales