Improving water quality through aquatic macrophytes has made them an essential component in constructed wetland systems (CWS). Experiments worldwide revealed that they do have a role to play in the treatment, but by and large it varied from region to region and species to species. CWS are proven to be an effective, low cost and sustainable alternative to the conventional methods of water treatment. This review included the study of 34 different varieties of macrophytes used for phytoremediation, different types of effluent treated, and experimental mesocosm/ microcosm studies. The ability of macrophytes in nutrient and heavy metal removal are evaluated. In spite of the well established reports indicating the positive role of macrophytes on environmental pollution control, there still exist differences in the performance of several species which are much harder to demonstrate. An effort has been undertaken to review the most researched aquatic macrophytes in the tropical areas, especially the Indian subcontinent so that it can be extended for its application in CWS.
Key words: Constructed wetlands, macrophytes, phytoremediation, water pollution.