The newest ornamental introduction of native origin from Aquascapes Unlimited, Inc. – a native wetland plant nursery located in Pipersville, Pa., is Hydrocotyle ranunculoides ‘Crystal Ball.’ Other Aquascapes Unlimited introductions of native origin include ‘Silk Stockings,’ a red-leaved arrowhead with net-like patterns, and ‘Big Red,’ a golden club with red petioles. Aquascapes Unlimited grows wetland, aquatic, and carnivorous plants from seed. ‘Crystal Ball’ was discovered as a sport and was isolated, developed, trialed, and propagated for three years in the nursery.
‘Crystal Ball’ was first introduced in honor of Greg Speichert, who founded Crystal Palace Perennials, a nursery dedicated to developing and introducing new plant varieties to the wholesale trade, at the Perennial Plant Symposium (PPA) on July 6th, 2012. Greg and Sue Speichert literally wrote the book on aquatic plants: The Encyclopedia of Water Garden Plants. Greg was an outstanding plantsman who unfortunately passed away suddenly while attending a plants conference at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania. In keeping with his visionary spirit and zest for life, it seems fitting that ‘Crystal Ball’ be named in honor of his nursery. After all the hydrocotyle genus was one of his favorites. “Greg would be delighted,” says Sue Speichert.
‘Crystal Ball’ looks best as an accent plant sweeping down a waterfall or cascading over the edge of a planted container. It is excellent for lighting up a dark corner of the water garden as it is shade tolerant. Perfect when interplanted among a taller plant such as taro, thalia, or papyrus, ‘Crystal Ball’ works well as a biological filter in a watercourse to remove suspended particulate matter. It is a good looking workhorse that should be around for years to come in the water garden market.