Water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes), also referred to as water cabbage, or Nile cabbage, is an aquatic plant that can be surprisingly difficult to grow in the home aquarium. But with a little bit of hard work, these plants form an attractive maze of hanging roots, which creates the perfect environment for fry and skittish fish.
It is believed that water lettuce is native to Africa, though there is no consensus on where it originated from on the continent. It was first recorded on the Nile River, near Lake Victoria. In the ensuing years after its discovery, it has spread around the globe, and presents a very real threat to native vegetation and fish. In fact, it is illegal to own or transport water lettuce in certain states and countries, and anyone looking to purchase these plants should first check local regulations.