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Family Hydrocharitaceae
Hydrilla verticillata (L.f.) Royle
Hei zao

Scientific names Common names
Elodea verticillata (L.f.) F.Muell.          Inata (Tagalog)
Epigynanthus blumei Hassk.           Lomolomotan (Tagalog)
Hydora lithuanica (Rchb.) Besser            Florida elodea (Engl.)
Hydrilla angustifolia Hassk.            Indian stargrass (Engl.)
Hydrilla dentata Casp.            Indian star vine (Engl.)
Hydrilla dentata var. pomeranica (Rchb.) Casp.            Hydrilla (Engl.)
Hydrilla lithuanica (Rchb.) Dandy         Water thyme (Engl.)
Hydrilla najadifolia Zoll. & Moritzi.            Water weed (Engl.)
Hydrilla ovalifolia Rich.             
Hydrilla polysperma Blatt.             
Hydrilla roxburghii Steud.             
Hydrilla subulata Royle             
Hydrilla verticillata (L.f.) Royle             
Hydrilla verticillata var. brevifolia Casp.             
Hydrilla verticillata var. crispa Casp.             
Hydrilla verticillata var. roxburghii Casp.             
Hydrilla verticillata var. tenuis Casp.             
Hydrilla wightii Planch.             
Hydrosponsylus submersus Hassk.         
Ixia aquatica Muhl. ex Spreng.             
Serpicula verticillata L.f.            
Udora lithuanica Rchb.           
Udora occidentalis W.D.J.Koch           
Udora pomeranica Rchb.           
Udora verticillata (L.f.) Spreng.           
Vallisneria verticillata (L.f.) Roxb.         
Hydrilla verticillata (L.f.) Royle is an accepted species. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Hei zao.
INDIA: Chingudia dala (Orissa),

Gen info
- Hydrilla (waterthyme) is usually considered a monotypic genus of aquatic plant, Hydrilla verticillata. However, some botanists divide it into several species.
- The plant belongs to the family Hydrocharitaceae (tape grass family).
- Ecology: Hydrilla verticillata is allelopathic to the common hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum) and prickly hornwort (C. muricatum), meaning, it produced compounds that inhibit growth of the two. (3)
- In the U.S., especially Florida, it has become an invasive species. Hydrilla has caused economic, environmental, and ecological damage. It is aggressive, out-competing and displacing native species such as pondweeds and eelgrass. (3)  The slimy vines lurk up to 30 feet below water, creeping along bottom of lakes, snuffing out fish spawning areas, stomping out life from bottom up. (19)

Leaves in whorls of 3-8, linear or narrowly strap-shaped, 0.7-1.7 cm × 1-4 mm, midvein distinct, margin conspicuously denticulate, apex acute. Male spathe green; sepals white, ca. 2.3 × 0.7 mm; petals reflexed, white or reddish, ca. 2 × 0.5 mm. Female spathe green; flowers similar to male ones. Fruit with 2-9 spinelike projections or smooth and without projections. Seeds, 1 or 2-6. (Flora of China)

- Native to the Philippines.
- Also native to Afghanistan, Assam, Australia, Bangladesh, Borneo, Burundi, Cambodia, China, Himalaya, Hainan, India, Iran, Japan, Jawa, Kenya, Korea, Lesser Sunda Is., Malaya, Maluku, Myanmar, New Guinea,
Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sulawesi, Sumatera, Taiwan, Tanzania, Tibet, Uganda, Vietnam, West Siberia, Zambia, Zaire, etc. (1)
- A hydroshrub that grows primarily in the wet tropical biome. (1)
- Found in lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, and marshes.
- In some places, considered a noxious weed.

- Nutrient contents (mg/10.5 gm): Vitamin B1 26.2, B2 0.08, B3 5.2, B5 11.4, B6 35.9, B12 1.1,
Calcium 1460,
Magnesium 76.1, Potassium 245, Phosphorus 29.7, Iron 35.8, Zinc 6.3, Manganese 24.5, Copper 0.2, Cobalt 0.4, Molybdenum 15 µg/10.5g, and ß-carotene 19,600 IU/10.5g. (see study below) (4)
- Study yielded five compounds, namely: crystal loliolide (1), 1-(5′-Hydroxy-4′-hydroxymethyl-1′-methyl-1H-pyrrol-2′-yl)-henicosa-2,12,15-trien-1-one (2), thymidine (3), sulfur-gamma (4), and octadecanedioic acid (5). (7)
- Phytochemical screening yielded alkaloids, phenols, flavonoids, saponins, and terpenoids. GC-MS study of ethanolic extract yielded phytol and hexadecanoic acid ethyl ester as major components. (see study below) (10)
- Study for lipid compounds identified 23 compounds, with major components of hexadecanoic acid, methyl ester (26.26%), 9,12-octadecadienoic acid (Z,Z)-,methyl ester (19.07%), and phytol (11.83%). (16)

- The plant is usually firmly rooted in the bottom mud, but occasionally breaks free and forms free-floating mats.
- It can survive in a few centimeters of water or in depths of up to 6 m. Ecologically sound, it grows 2.5 cm per day in fresh water. (4)
- Tubers and turions survive adverse conditions and remain viable for several years in the sediment. One tuber can produce 5,000 new tubers per square meter and is easily spread by anglers and recreational boaters. (6)
- Studies have suggested nutritive, wound healing, hepatoprotective, phytoremediative, anti-obesity properties.

Parts used
Leaves, whole plant.


- Almost all parts viz., stems, leaves, flowers, turions, and tubers are employed as food. It can be mixed into beverages, sauces, salads, and salad dressings and cooked into vegetable dishes.
- No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
- Ashes of leaves used to treat ringworm.
- Leaf decoction used in treatment of abscesses, boils, and wounds. Dried leaf powder applied on cuts and wounds. (18)
- Green manure: Considered a noxious weed, it has potential use as green manure in agricultural fields. (
- Fodder: The submerged plant often harvested as chicken and pig feed.
- Ornamental: Used as aquarium ornamental and as agent of aeration.

Wound Healing / Whole Plant:
Study evaluated the wound healing activity in Wistar albino rats of ethanolic extract of whole plant collected from unpolluted and polluted water sources. Results showed significant wound healing than in control (indomethacin) and induced (carrageenan) treatment.  Plant sample from unpolluted water source showed better wound healing property than sample from polluted water source. There was faster epithelization with high dose of 400mg/kbw than low dose of 200 mg/kbw.
Phytoremediation: Its abundant source of biomass has found use as bioremediation hyperaccumulator of mercury, cadmium, chromium, and lead.
Nutritive Value: Hydrilla is especially valuable for true vegetarians; considered a green superfood. Adequate amounts of vitamin B12, iron, and calcium are difficult to obtain in vegetarian diets. Hydrilla contains more calcium than any other food source on earth. Milk and egg production is increased by by 20% and 14%, respectively, if dairy cows and chickens eat hydrilla. Besides calcium, it contains high values of vitamin B12, polysaccharides, amino acids, micro- and macronutrients, and ß-carotene. (see constituents above) (4)
Hepatoprotective Effect Against Lead-Induced Acute Liver Toxicity: Study evaluated the hepatoprotective effect of H. verticillata on lead-induced hepatic damage in freshwater fish. Hydrilla verticillata supplementation significantly (p<0.05) reduced the level of hepatic enzymes and showed protective effect on hepatocytes by normalization of degenerated and fibrotic liver tissue. Results suggest potential for liver disorders. (8)
Anti-Adipogenesis Activity on 3T3 L1 Cell Lines: Study evaluated the anti-adipogenesis activity of H. verticillata extract on 3T3 L1 cell lines. Phytochemical analysis of the extract showed a large amount of phytol. In vitro pancreatic assay of the crude extract showed maximum lipase inhibition activity at minimal concentration of 125 µg/ml, similar to standard antiobesity drug, orlistat. The IC50 on 3T3 L1 cell line was 840.91 µg/mL. Results confirms the ethanolic extract possess anti-adipogenesis activity, which can be used for obesity-related treatments. (9)
Antimicrobial / Antioxidant: Antioxidant activity by DPPH assay showed concentration dependent free radical scavenging activity, with maximum inhibition of 29.60% at 100 µg/ml. Antimicrobial activity evaluation showed greater inhibition zone against Gram positive than Gram negative bacteria. There was no antifungal activity. (see constituents above) (10)
Larvicidal Against Culex quinquefasciatus / Leaves: Study evaluated crude hexane, benzene, ethyl acetate, methanol, aqueous leaf extracts of Hydrilla verticillata for larvicidal efficacy against fourth instar larvae of Culex quinquefasciatus at concentrations of 62.5, 125, 250, and 500 mg/L. The ethyl acetate extract showed effective larvicidal activity with LC50 of 89.57 mg/L. (11)
CNS Depressant / Analgesic / Anticonvulsant: Study evaluated an aqueous extract of H. verticillata for possible pharmacological effects on experimental animals. The extract significantly potentiated sleeping time of mice induced by standard hyponotics viz. pentobarbitone sodium, diazepam, and meprobamate in a dose dependent manner. The extract showed significant analgesic properties evidenced by significant reduction in number of writhes and stretches induced in mice by 1.2% acetic acid solution and potentiation of analgesia induced by morphine and pethidine in mice. Pretreatment with extract provided significant protection against strychnine and leptazol-induced convulsions. Results suggest CNS depressant activity. (12)
Phytoremediation / Phytochelatins / Cadmium Stress: Studies have reported that H. verticillata and other aquatic higher plants are hyperaccumulators of Cd and have demonstrated ability to remove many toxic metals, including Cd, from wastewater. It is hypothesized that cadmium hyperaccumlating ability of the macrophyte is associated with induction of metal chelating properties, the phytochelatins (PCs), to cope with high cellular Cd levels. It was considered worthwhile to study induction of phytochelatins and changes in levels of glutathione and related metabolites in H. verticillata under Cd stress. (13)
Phytol as Biosurfactant / Antibacterial: Phytol, a natural linear diterpene fatty alcohol present in the integral part of chlorophyll, is present in copious amounts in the aquatic weed Hydrilla verticillata. It is a widely use precursor for the manufacture of vitamins E and K. Study evaluated the separation of phytol from ethanolic extract of H. verticillata for use as an anionic surfactant. HPLC fingerprint profile showed phytol is a major phytochemical in the crude extract. Purified phytol was converted into phytol sulfate by sulphonation, and was found to possess surfactant activity. Phytol sulfate showed potent disinfectant effect by its antibacterial activity against E. coli. Phytol has great potential with its natural source and renewability. (14)
Silver Nanoparticles: Study reports on the extracellular photosynthesis of silver nanoparticles using aquatic plants Hydrilla verticillata. Study showed antimicrobial potential. (15)
Biosorption of Lead: Study evaluated the potential of nonliving biomass of Hydrilla verticillata to absorb Pb(II) from an aqueous solution containing very low concentrations of Pb(II) using measures of shaking time, contact time, biosrobent dosages, pH of medium, and initial Pb(II) concentration. The adsorption of Pb(II) was physical in nature. Desorption of Pb(II) from biosorbent by desorbing solutions were HNO3 > Na2CO3 > NaOH > NaNO3. (17)

- Wild-crafted.

June 2023

                                                 PHOTOS / ILLUSTRATIONS
IMAGE SOURCE: Photograph: Hydrilla / Hemant Sahu / Public Domain / click on image or link to go to source page / Wikimedia Commons
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Photograph: Hydrilla verticillata / © Robert Videki / Doronicum Kft., Bugwood.org / Non-commercial use / Click on image or link to go to source page / Michigan Invasive Species
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Photograph: Hydrilla verticillata / © Cortland County Soil and Water Conservation District / Non-commercial use / Click on image or link to go to source page / Cortlandswcd.org

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Hydrilla verticillata / Synonyms/ KEW: Plants of the World Online
Hydrilla verticillata / PIER: Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk
Hydrilla / Wikipedia
Little known uses of common aquatic plant, Hydrilla verticillata (Linn.f.) Royle
/ D K Pal, S B Nimse / Natural Product Radiance
Evaluation of wound healing activity of Hydrilla verticillata (L.F.) Royle collected from unpolluted and polluted water sources / V.Mary Kensa, R.Neelamegam /
Int J Curr Microbiol App Sci., 2014; 3(12): pp 417-423 / ISSN: 2319-7706
Hydrilla verticillata / SANBI
Chemical Composition of Hydrilla Verticillata (L. f.) Royle in Taihu Lake / Yu Xiao, Yan-Li Wang, Shi-Xiang Gao, Cheng-Sun, Zhong-Yuan Zhou / CJC: Chinese Journal of Chemistry, 2007; 25(5): pp 661-665 /
DOI: 10.1002/cjoc.200790123
EVALUATION OF PROTECTIVE EFFECT OF AQUATIC WEED HYDRILLA VERTICILLATA AGAINST LEAD INDUCED ACUTE LIVER TOXICITY IN FISH / S P Prabha, C Karthik, G S Priya / International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research 2020 / DOI: 10.13040/IJPSR.0975-82232.12(1).183-87
In vitro evaluation of Hydrilla verticillata for anti-adipogenesis activity on 3T3 L1 cell lines / S Pandi Prabha, S Sadhana, C Karthik, DG Caroline / Pharmacognosy Magazine, 2020; 16(05): pp 498-505 /
DOI: 10.4103/pm.pm_234_20
Phytochemical screening and bioactive potential of Hydrilla verticillata / Pandi Prabha S, Johanna Rajkumar /  Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research, 2015; 7(3): pp 1809-1815 /
ISSN: 0975-7384
Screening of Hydrilla verticillata (L. F.) Royle (Hydrocharitaceae) crude leaf extracts for larvicidal efficacy against the filarial vector Culex quinquefasciatus say (Diptera: Culicidae) / SW Annie, R Raveen, MG Paulraj, T Samuel, S Arivoli / International Journal of Entomology Research, 2016; 1(3): pp 43-48 /
ISSN: 2455-4758
CNS Activities of the Aqueous Extract of Hydrilla verticillata in Mice / Pal Dilipkumar, Balasaheb Nimse Satish, Khatun Samina, Bandyopadhyay Pranab Kumar / Natural Product Science, 2006; 12(1): pp 44-49   / KMID: 0620720060120010044
Induction of phytochelatins in hydrilla verticillata (l.f.) Royle under cadmium stress / Tripathi R D, U N Rai, M Gupta / Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 56(3) / DOI: 10.1007/s001289900073
Phytol – A biosurfactant from the aquatic weed Hydrilla verticillata / S Pandi Prabha, C Karthik, S hema Chandrika / Biocatalysis and Agricultural Biotechnology, 2019; Vol 17:  pp 736-742 /
DOI: 10.1016/j.bcab.2019.01.026
Phytofabrication of silver nanoparticles by using aquatic plant Hydrilla verticillata /  Neilesh Sable, Swapnil Gaikwad, Shital Bonde, Aniket Gade, Mahendra Rai / Nusantara Bioscience, 2012; 4(2): pp 45-49 /
DOI: 10.13057/nusbiosci/n040201
Identification Lipid compounds of Aquatic plant Hydrilla verticillata (Linn. F.) Royal / Alzurfi Sadiq Kadhum Lafta, Al-Haidarey Mohammed Jawad Saliih et al / Research Journal of Pharmacy and Technology, 2019; 12(11): pp 5621-5626 / DOI: 10.5958/0974-360X,2019.00973.9 / pISSN: 0974-3618 / eISSN: 0974-360X
Biosorption and Desorption of Lead(II) by Hydrilla verticillata / P K Dileepa Chathuranga, M C Mohaded Iqbal et al / Bioremediation Journal, 2014; 18(3): pp 192-203   / DOI: 10.1080/10889868.2014.910492
ETHANOBOTANICAL USES OF SOME AQUATIC MACROPHYTES FOUND IN YAVATMAL DISTRICT (M.S.) INDIA  / MUKUND DHORE & PARESH LACHURE / IJBR: International Journal of Botany and Research, 2014;  4(4): pp 17-22 / pISSN: 2277-4815 / eISSN: 2319-4456
The Horror of Hydrilla / Amanda Barber / 2018 / Cortland County Soil and Water Conservation District

DOI: It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

                                                            List of Understudied Philippine Medicinal Plants

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