, Volume 774, Issue 1, pp 183–192 | Cite as

Comparison of three plants in a surface flow constructed wetland treating eutrophic water in a Mediterranean climate

  • Carmen Hernández-Crespo
  • Nuria Oliver
  • Javier Bixquert
  • Sara Gargallo
  • Miguel Martín


The goal of this study is to examine the suitability of three plants, Typha spp., Phragmites spp. and Iris pseudacorus, in a free-water surface constructed wetland created to treat eutrophic water from Lake Albufera (Valencia, Spain), a wetland of international importance. The growth, coverage and nutrient content of the three plants were studied, and chemical analyses were performed according to standard methods. The maximum standing crops measured for each plant were 1.9, 18.2 and 3.3 kg m−2, respectively, and their average nutrient concentrations were 2.1, 1.2 and 1.7 g P kg−1 and 12.1, 11.7 and 10.1 g N kg−1, respectively. A multiple harvest of Iris pseudacorus revealed that the removal of nutrients could be increased up to 50% for N and 100% for P compared with a single harvest. Biomass decomposition assays showed high values for five-day biochemical oxygen demand (115–207 mg O2 g−1, depending on the plant and its age) and a substantial release of phosphorus, up to 100% of that contained in the biomass, highlighting the need to remove the litter fall. This study provides key aspects for vegetation selection and management (planting and harvesting) in a novel application of constructed wetlands to enhance water quality and biodiversity.


Lake Albufera Tancat de la Pipa Constructed wetland Eutrophic water Plants Multiple harvest 



The authors acknowledge the anonymous reviewers and the editor for their valuable comments to improve this paper.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical rules

This manuscript has been prepared according to the ethical rules of Hydrobiologia, and it has not been submitted to other journals.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carmen Hernández-Crespo
    • 1
  • Nuria Oliver
    • 1
  • Javier Bixquert
    • 1
  • Sara Gargallo
    • 1
  • Miguel Martín
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto de Investigación de Ingeniería del Agua y Medio Ambiente (IIAMA)Universitat Politècnica de ValènciaValenciaSpain

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