Water Soldier (Stratiotes aloides)

A number of lakes and ponds throughout the UK have seen an invasion of Water Soldier. The size and rapid growth of the Water Soldier in these circumstances is to the detriment of other plants, and it inhibits leisure activity, such as fishing and swimming, and in some cases negatively impacts on the aesthetics of the body of water.

Easily identifiable by its long, sword like leaves edged with curved prickles, emerging from a central rosette, the Water Soldier is sometimes known as the “Pineapple plant”.  With leaves up to 9” long, each plant reaches approximately 18” in diameter, and reproduces via lateral shoots growing from the base of the plant. As many as 8 or 10 shoots can come from one “parent” plant, and these shoots break away and form new rosettes, which can soon reach the size of the parent plant, and can rapidly cover the surface of a lake.

Though rare, due to the disappearance of a large number of the UK’s wetlands, in certain Fen areas in central and eastern England the Water Soldier is thriving to such an extent it has become problematic.

This aquatic plant which thrives in good quality, healthy water, remains submerged for most of the year, but in the summer months it surfaces and flowers, producing a white 3-petalled flower.  After flowering, leaves die back, become water later laden and the plants sink once again to the bottom of the lake.

The Water Soldier is an essential plant for certain wildlife, particularly the rare Norfolk Hawker dragonfly, as it is a food source for the insects on which the dragonfly feeds, and where its larvae can develop. For this reason, any attempt to control the plant needs to be handled sensitively.


Using their lightweight, amphibious Truxor DM5000 vehicle, Aquatic Solutions UK can take up the battle against Water Soldier sensitively, providing effective control of any invasion, without totally eliminating the plant, and thus maintaining a healthy environment where all flora and fauna can flourish. A clearing rake is attached to the front of the Truxor , the Water Soldier is then scooped off the surface whilst it is floating and then deposited onto the bank.  The removed vegetation can then be recycled as green waste or left to compost away from the water’s edge. Occasional maintenance may be required every few years to keep the water soldier at acceptable levels.

Aquatic Solutions UK offer:

  • Fully trained, qualified  and experienced staff
  • Lightweight amphibious vehicle means easy access even in confined areas
  • Little or no negative impact on surrounding area when work is carried out
  • Cost effective programme of treatment
  • Care and attention to detail

 How we can help:

If you want to identify Water Soldier, please see our website.

Alternatively, if you have clear photographs, feel free to email them to us to identify for you.

If you would like to discuss any aquatic weed problem you have, feel free to contact us via the form below, or call us on 01788 810614.

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