Bacopa monnieri

leaf Main Plant Information





Hawaiian Names with Diacritics

  • ʻAeʻae

Hawaiian Names

  • Aeae

Common Names

  • Baby tears
  • Dwarf bacopa
  • Water hyssop
  • Waterhyssop


  • Bramia monnieri
  • Gratiola monnieria
  • Herpestes fauriei
  • Herpestes monnieri
  • Lysimachia monnieri

leaf Plant Characteristics

Endangered Species Status

No Status

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Non-Woody, Clumping
  • Non-Woody, Spreading

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

  • Herbaceous, Short, Less than 1

Mature Size, Width

1 to 4 feet wide.

Life Span

Long lived (Greater than 5 years)

Landscape Uses

  • Accent
  • Container
  • Erosion Control
  • Ground Cover
  • Indoor
  • Water Features

Additional Landscape Use Information

In the landscape, with good lighting ʻaeʻae does well with light foot traffic or planted between stepping stones. Grows well as filler plant in mixed planters or as a small house plant.

ʻAeʻae is capable of growing directly in the water and in water features sometimes producing free floating mats. But do use fertilizers in aquatic settings as this can cause excessive algae. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

In large pots or as a groundcover, when provided with full to part sun, generous watering and fertlizer at half strength, ʻaeʻae will spread rapidly. [6]

Source of Fragrance

  • No Fragrance

Plant Produces Flowers


leaf Flower Characteristics

Flower Type

Not Showy

Flower Colors

  • Pink
  • Purple
  • White

Blooming Period

  • Year Round

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Fine

Leaf Colors

  • Light Green

leaf Pests and Diseases

Additional Pest & Disease Information

Slugs and snails.

leaf Growth Requirements


Fertilize regularly with organic fertilizers. Plants are not heavy feeders, so applying fertilizers at half the recommended strength will suffice. Use well composted manure or slow release fertilizers.

ʻAeʻae is sensitive to iron deficiency and indicate this by chlorotic (yellowing or whitening) leaves. Regular applications of iron chelate in liquid or granule forms should be applied for greener growth. Iron sulfate may be used as well but leaves should always be washed off soon after application. [4,5]

Do not use fertilizers in pond or aquarium settings, unless it is specifically designed for aquatic settings, or it may produce an abundance of algae.

Pruning Information

Trim regularly to keep plants neat. Will tolerate mowing or string trimming.

Water Requirements

  • Moist
  • Wet

Additional Water Information

Needs regular moisture, particularly for roots to establish and will grow directly in fresh or slightly brackish water or along the banks of water features such as streams, ponds or aquariums. [4]

ʻAeʻae are not drought tolerate plants.

Soil must be well drained


Light Conditions

  • Full sun
  • Partial sun

Additional Lighting Information

The more sun, the stockier the plants. Too much shade causes longer internodes, that is to say, the leaves will be more spaced out, creating a looser appearance.

Spacing Information

Plant 6 inches to several feet apart.


  • Waterlogged Soil
  • Brackish Water
  • Wind
  • Salt Spray


  • Clay
  • Sand
  • Cinder
  • Organic
  • Coral


These sprawling plants may grow up and over other vegetation and can tend to be weedy under optimal growing conditions. Trim back as necessary to control growth.

Special Growing Needs

Always provide moisture for this plant.

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Range

  • Niʻihau
  • Kauaʻi
  • Oʻahu
  • Molokaʻi
  • Lānaʻi
  • Maui
  • Hawaiʻi
  • Northwest Islands

Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)

  • Less than 150, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • Less than 150, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • Less than 150, Greater than 100 (Wet)
  • 150 to 1000, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 150 to 1000, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 150 to 1000, Greater than 100 (Wet)


  • Aquatic
  • Terrestrial

Additional Habitat Information

ʻAeʻae is found in a variety of habitats from mud flats, bare sandstone, sand, rocks, marshes, and brackish stream shores on all of the main islands except Kahoʻolawe. In the Northwest Islands, it is naturally found only on Midway Atoll (Pihemanu).

leaf Special Features and Information

General Information

Though some Bacopa species are commonly known as Water hyssop, this name is actually misleading because they are not closely related to hyssop which belong to the Mint family (Lamiaceae). Rather, Bacopa, or ʻaeʻae, are members of the Plantaginaceae or Plantain family which include foxglove (Digitalis), snapdragon (Antirrhinum), hebe (Hebe), and pysllium (Plantago pysillium), but exclude a banana relative also called plaintain (Musa).


The genus Bacopa is a Latinized form of the aboriginal name of these plants used by the indigenous people of French Guana.

The specific epithet monnieri is probably named for the French naturalist Louis-Guillaume Le Monnier (1717-1799). [7,8]

Hawaiian Names:

ʻAeʻae is a Niʻihau and the one generally used locally for this species.

Background Information

ʻAeʻae provide an excellent habitat and hiding places for invertebrates that serve as a food source for native waterfowl such as ʻalae ʻula or Hawaiian moorhen and ʻalae keʻokeʻo or Hawaiian coot.

Early Hawaiian Use

 Use by early Hawaiians is unknown as yet. But they would have certainly encountered these plants.

Modern Use

Ouside of Hawaiʻi:

The whole herb is used medicinally in India in a variety of ways. It is grown as a medicinal crop and is being research for antioxidant properties, to help the nervous system, and to improve memory and mental functions. [1,2,3]

Additional References

[1] [accessed 1/12/09]
[2] [accessed 1/12/09]
[3] [accessed 1/12/09]

[4] "Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants" by Peter Hiscock, page 132.

[5] The Paul Ecke Ranch, The Flowers Fields online .pdf cultural sheet for Bacopa.

[6] "Container Gardening in Hawaii" by Janice Crowl, page 51.

[7] "Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of Indian Ocean Islands" by Ameenah Gurib-Fakim & Thomas Brendler, page 136.

[8] [accessed 11/10/10]



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