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It is often surprising to realize just how many of our aquarium plants are native to the United States and especially the Southeastern US. One of those exotic looking yet home grown plants is the lovely banana plant, Nymphoides aquatica. Found from New Jersey to Florida in ditches, still waters, and ponds it is one of my all time favorites. My first task was to locate where it could be found in North Carolina. I used my Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas to narrow the search down to specific counties. Craven County had a dot, and so was added to my itinerary for my aquatic plant collecting road trip. I thought surely I could not mistake banana plants for anything else, but you can never be too careful, so I brought my trusty, Godfrey and Wooten, Aquatic Plants of the Southeastern United States just to be sure. After several productive but non banana plant ditches I hit upon this site. Shazaam! Banana plants galore! Checking my Godfrey and Wooten for confirmation against what I was collecting I was sure I had success! Even a few baby banana plants. The eternal question always is: What do plants want? Knowing where and how they grow natively in the wild would go a long way towards answering this question, so I was determined to make observations and take measurements. Here was the temperature This is the water chemistry No nitrates, no GH, no KH and a very low pH. Surprisingly there seems to be a bit chlorine, but whatever the source, I guarantee it did not come from a water treatment plant as I was in a very remote unspoiled location. The substrate was 3 inches of mulm, over a couple inches of mud, over a sandy bottom. Most plants were firmly rooted all the way into the sand in about 1 to 3 feet of water. Some plants had lily pads nearly the size of my hand. Smaller plants on runners or nearer shore had more bananas. Some plants were flowering with delicate white flowers floating just above the surface of the water. I collected a handful of plants and headed quickly home to the 1930s Historically Accurate Planted Aquarium as these would be a very authentic addition!