There are currently about 16 species of Vallisneria.
When plants get stressed out from low nutrients or high amounts of light, they produce pigments called anthocyanin that makes a red color in the leaves. Some plants naturally produce red colors even though they are in perfect conditions, but some use it as a defense mechanism. Similar to how we get sunburned, plants get damaged from UV rays as well.
Italian = Vallisneria spiralis
Americana = Vallisneria americana
Corkscrew = Vallisneria natans, or some still consider it to be Vallisneria asiatica.
Is there any way to tell if the red pigment is due to low nutrients compared to those that produce them naturally?
I've recently found out that when my C. Spiralis is low on iron and micros, as new leafs grow, they take on different colors. It turns a copper red first, and if the issue is not corrected, newer leafs will turn a very dark brown.
I also just noticed the new growth on the dwarf sag that's just coming out has a red tinge to it. I set them up in two tanks, both approx same nutrient levels. In the other tank, the newest growth is all green. The one where it has some red has a stronger led. Should be interesting to see how they look once settled in.
I had no idea there were that many species of vals
! I really hope my lfs give the actual name when they get the next batch. I think it depends on which supplier they receive plants from, sometimes it would have a common name like Jungle Val, but sometimes they would use the scientific name.
So far every all the plants I've gotten from there has been accurate.
Thanks for the info. I thought vals were just simple plants, looks like they're all equally complex when it comes to different species of one plant.