Japanese Cress

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Cardamine lyrata - (Bunge, 1835)
Japanese Cress


Cool water and bright light bring out the best in Japanese Cress. MP & C Piednoir


Japanese Cress is a stem plant that has small, light green roundish leaves with slightly jagged edges. It's primarily used in the fore- or mid-ground and provides a nice contrast of color and leaf form. The plant will become quite bushy if grown under sufficient light.

Family: Brassicaceae

Other common name(s):

Native range:

  • Japan
  • China
  • Korea( I don't see this mentioned in Kass)

Habitat: It grows in marshes.

Maximum height: 40 cm (16 in)

Lighting: Bright

Placement: Midground to background in bunches.

Water: Freshwater 18 °C (64 °F) - 23 °C (73 °F)


CO2 fertilization is appreciated.

Special Care

Keep this plant trimmed to prevent unsightly, straggly stems. It does not tolerate chemicals or pollution well but otherwise is not fussy about water conditions.


Seed and cuttings.


Without adequate light, this plant will become spindly with weak stems, not attractive at all. Because of its low temperature requirements, it is ideal for use with fishes like White Cloud Mountain Minnows (Tanichthys albonubes) and other coolwater fishes. Though it would seem to be a natural with Goldfish, no such luck, as they find the soft leaves delectable. Keep the water movement gentle. It will develop nodal roots to extract nutrients from the water. It is also quite happy to grow as a floating plant on the surface of the water close to the light where it just might produce small white flowers.

Reference: 101 Best Aquarium Plants
Text credit: MES