New Hampshire Aquarium Society Horticultural Awards Program (2011 Revision)


Overview:  The New Hampshire Aquarium Society (NHAS) has established a Horticultural Awards Program (HAP) for the purpose of encouraging the keeping, propagation, and sharing of aquatic plants.  Our intent is to recognize the accomplishments of our members, develop experience in the raising and propagation of aquatic plants, and encourage the distribution of those plants to other club members.


Horticultural Award Program Rules:


The NHAS/HAP recognizes that different species of plants may require different degrees of difficulty in maintenance and propagation, but we also acknowledge that much of this can depend on water conditions at the member’s homes and is subject to varied opinions.  Therefore, we base the point system not on a general degree of difficulty for a particular species, but on the propagation method itself.  We recognize that floating plants and bunch plants are often the easiest to propagate with simple division being the preferred method while many other plants propagate best by runners.  Sexual reproduction is generally most difficult.  We therefore assign points not on the basis of species, but, instead, base the point system on the propagation methods.


The NHAS/HAP recognizes that many forms of aquatic and semi-aquatic plants spend a significant portion of their lives either partially or fully removed from the water.  For plants where this is part of their normal life cycle, we accept such species.  However, we do not accept plants that do not normally spend a significant fraction of their life cycle fully submerged and we reserve the right to reject entries that fail to meet this condition.


Points Awards:


Class A (5 points): Simple Division – Propagation of floating plants and bunch/stem plants shall mean that the mass and number of plants has doubled from the original amount.  The volume of floating plants submitted for HAP points should be at least 15 cm3 (~1 in3) and the number of stem plants should be at least 5.  Stem plants must double in size following division and before sale.


Class B (10 points): Root Division – Propagation of plants with runners where the new plant is sufficiently established that it can support and sustain itself after detachment from the parent plant.  The daughter plant must have reached the 4-leaf stage (at least).  Division of ferns and plants reproduced by rhizome division (such as Anubias) will be considered Class B propagation and must be free of the parent plant.  In addition, the daughter plant must show new growth following the division and before sale.  Single daughter plants are a sufficient number to obtain Class B points.


Class C (15 points): Flowering – Separate points will be awarded for the flowering of an aquatic plant.  The flowering need not result in reproduction, but is recognized as a valid accomplishment in its own right.  Flowering must be documented by either a second club member who serves as witness or by a convincing photograph.


Class D (20 points): Sexual Reproduction – Generally the most difficult of all methods, must be accomplished in such a way that the new plants can be assured to result from pollination and sexual reproduction.  Daughter plant must have reached the 4-leaf stage (at least) and must be large enough to identify as the same species as the parent plant(s).


In the awarding of HAP points for all classes (except Class C), the plant(s) must be auctioned at one of the monthly meetings of the NHAS and it must be at least 60 days old.  The exception to the 60-day rule is floating plants where the “colony” must be at least 60 days old and the volume of floating plants must be doubled.  Plants submitted for points under this program must be healthy, robust, and of sufficient size similar to those sold in quality pet stores.


Invasive Species Exclusion: The NHAS/HAP does not accept plant species banned from sale or importation under New Hampshire law.


Additional Criteria:


1. Sixty (60) days old means after purchase of parent plant for Class A propagation and after initial leaf production on the daughter plant for Class B and D propagation.

2. The aquarist must own the plants they are breeding.

3. Points are awarded only once for each combination of propagation and species or recognized subspecies.

4. Certificates will be awarded at the completion of the propagation requirements.

5. Aquarists are encouraged to submit any plant species or propagation method to the HAP committee for consideration where there is doubt.  The HAP Committee will then submit its decision to the Board of Directors for approval.

6. It is the responsibility of the aquarist to see that the horticultural award points are recorded by giving all the necessary information to the chairman of the HAP.

7. The Board of Directors will make final judgements on all interpretations of the above rules and requests for variances of above rules. The Board of Directors will also appoint the HAP Committee.

8. The HAP Committee reserves the right to verify propagations. Classifications are subject to change. Validity of scientific name is not guaranteed as there is ongoing work in the scientific arena classifying and reclassifying many families.

9. The decision to accept or reject species not normally considered aquatic will rest with the NHAS Board of Directors in consultation with the HAP Committee.





The NHAS/HAP recognizes stages of development in the hobby and records a club member’s progress as follows:

  1. Novice Aquatic Horticulturist
    • 30 Points from any method of propagation.
  2. Advanced Aquatic Horticulturist
    • 100 points from any method of propagation,
    • A minimum of 30 points must be from class B or class D,
    • One (short) article on plants.
  3. Senior Aquatic Horticulturist
    • 200 points from any method of propagation,
    • Minimum of 8 species from classes A and B,
    • One species from Class C,
    • One additional article on plants.
  4. Expert Aquatic Horticulturist
    • 300 points from any method of propagation,
    • 15 species from class A, and B,
    • At least two species from each of class C,
    • At least one species from class D,
    • One additional article on plants.
  5. Master Aquatic Horticulturist
    • 450 points from any method of propagation,
    • Must have at least 3 Class D.
    • 2 additional articles.
    • 1 Club presentation.
  6. Grand Master Aquatic Horticulturist
    • 700 points from any method of propagation,
    • Must have at least 5 Class C and 5 Class D entries,
    • 2 club presentations.


Recognized Species:


Although the NHAS/HAP does not base points on the difficulty of propagating specific species, we can list the generally recognized degree of difficulty for many plants:


Easily Propagated:

Ceratophyllum spp.                                        hornwort

Elodea spp.

Fontinalis spp.

Hygrophilia spp.

Lemna spp.                                                     duckweed

Ludwigia spp.

Lysimachia spp.

Najas spp.

Nitalla spp.                                                     hairgrass

Nomophilia spp.

Riccia spp.

            Riccia fluitans                                    crystalwort

Sagittaria spp.

Spirodela spp.

Vallisneria spp.

Vesicularia spp.

            Vesicularia dubyana                           Java moss

Synnema spp.                                                 water wisteria


Intermediate Difficulty:

Acorus spp.

Ambulia spp.

Anubias spp.

Azolla spp.                                                      fairy moss (actually floating fern)

Bacopa spp.

Bolbitis spp.

Botomnus spp.

Cabomba spp.

Cardamine spp.

Ceratopterus spp.                                            water sprite

Cypress alternifolia

Didiplis diandra

Echinodorus tenellus                                      pygmy chain swordplant

Eichornia spp.

            Eichornis crassipes                             water hyacinth

Eleocharis spp.

Hydrilla spp.

Hydrocotyle spp.                                            pennywort

Limnophila spp.                                             ambulia

Lobelia spp.

Microsorium pteropus                                                Java fern

Myriophyllum spp.

Nuphar spp.

Nymphoides spp.

Pistia spp.

            Pistia stratiotes                                   water lettuce

Pontederia spp.

Potamogeton spp.                                           pondweed

Rotala spp.

Samolus valerandi                                          water cabbage

Salvnia spp.                                                    floating fern

Typha spp.

Utricularia spp.                                               bladderwort

Wolffia spp.


Advanced Difficulty:

Aponogeton spp. (except Madagaster Lace)

Cryptocoryne spp.

Echinodorus spp. (except pygmy chain plant)

Heteranthera spp.

Isoetes spp.

Marsilea spp.

Spiranthes cernua

Trapa natans


Challenging Species:

Aldrovanda spp.

Apontogeton madagasgarensis                      Madagascar Lace Plant

Lagenandra spp.

Nembula spp.

Nymphae spp.

Otellia alismoides