The Broadleaf Amazon Sword from tropical South America is one of the most known and popular aquarium plants. Cultivated for many years, it was first introduced under the misapplied name “Echinodorus paniculatus”, later it was called Echinodorus bleheri for a long time. Its leaves are wider (3-6 cm) than those of E. grisebachii ‘Amazonicus’ and up to 60 cm long, lending the plant a more dominant appearance. It is mostly delivered in its terrestrial form, with longer leaf stalks and shorter leaf blades (see the photo). After planting into the aquarium, it will develop much more elongate, short stalked submerged leaves.
Older rosettes with often more than 50 leaves are an impressive eyecatcher in large tanks. It is recommendable for discus and anglefish tanks. The substrate height should not be less than 10 cm for a good root development. Combined with the runner-forming chain swords (genus Helanthium), ‘Bleherae’ allows the creation of beautiful South America-themed underwater landscapes.
As popular as this sword plant is, its space requirement should be considered. In medium sized tanks it gets too large soon; an alternative for smaller tanks is Echinodorus grisebachii ‘Parviflorus’ that looks similar but stays considerably lower.