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Red Melon Swords (Echinodorus x barthii) are cultivated hybrids that are often regarded as their own species (E. barthii). They have spade-shaped leaves and grow in a rosette pattern. The red tint of their new leaves changes to dark green as they age. Higher light will make these colors more intense.
"Sword Plants" come primarily from the Echinodorus genus and are marsh or bog plants from the tropical western hemisphere (North, South and Central America as well as some islands in the region). While there are around 3 scientifically accepted species, many species are cross-bred and propagated by hobbyists and nurseries to create numerous variants and hybrids.
While swords may grow emerged in the wild (with their leaves out of the water), they are well adapted to submerged life in the aquarium as well. Emerged plants grow flowers, while submerged plants will reproduce by sending out runners to grow new plants. Most swords need high lighting to thrive. They also benefit from a nutrient-rich substrate and iron and CO2 supplements, especially in heavily planted aquariums.