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Cabomba caroliniana A. Gray
Carolina Water-shield

Life   Plantae   Dicotyledoneae   Cabombaceae   Cabomba

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Cabomba caroliniana
© Les Mehrhoff, 2008-2010 · 4
Cabomba caroliniana
Cabomba caroliniana
© Les Mehrhoff, 2008-2010 · 3
Cabomba caroliniana

Cabomba caroliniana, plant
© Kay Yatskievych, 2003 · 1
Cabomba caroliniana, plant
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Following served from Aqua Botanic
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Following modified from University of Florida, Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants
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Following modified from MissouriPlants.com
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Cabomba caroliniana A. Gray - Carolina Fanwort

Cabomba caroliniana plant

Family - Cabombaceae

Stems - No info yet.

Leaves - No info yet.

Cabomba caroliniana leaves

Inflorescence - No info yet.

Flowers - No info yet.

Cabomba caroliniana flower

Flowering - May - September.

Habitat - Swamps, sloughs, ponds.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This attractive aquatic species can be found in just a few eastern Missouri counties. The plant can be identified by its finely divided, opposite submerged leaves (the emergent leaves are subulate and alternate) and its small white flowers. The sepals and petals of the flower are similar and have small, curled auricles at their bases. The flowers typically have 6 stamens but occasionally have only 3.
C. caroliniana provides good cover for fish and pond-life and is commonly grown as an ornamental for aquarium use.

Photographs taken at Eufala National Wildlife Refuge, AL., 7-23-05 and 6-4-06.


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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 3 | Cabombaceae | Cabomba

1. Cabomba caroliniana A. Gray, Ann. Lyceum Nat. Hist. New York. 4: 47. 1837.


Cabomba caroliniana var. pulcherrima R. M. Harper; C . pulcherrima (R. M. Harper) Fassett

Submersed leaves: petiole to 4 cm; leaf blade 1-3.5 × 1.5-5.5 cm, terminal segments 3-200, linear to slightly spatulate, to 1.8 mm wide. Floating leaves: blade 0.6-3 cm × 1-4 mm, margins entire or notched to sagittate at base. Flowers 6-15 mm diam.; sepals white to purplish [yellow] or with purple-tinged margins, 5-12 × 2-7 mm; petals colored as sepals but with proximal, yellow, nectar-bearing auricles, 4-12 × 2-5 mm, apex broadly obtuse or notched; stamens 3-6, mostly 6; pistils 2-4, mostly 3, divergent at maturity; ovules 3. Fruits 4-7 mm. Seeds 1-3, 1.5-3 × 1-1.5 mm, tubercles in 4 longitudinal rows. 2 n = ca. 78, ca. 104.

Flowering late spring-early fall, earlier and later further south. Acidic to alkaline ponds, lakes, pools in marshes, rivers, streams, ditches, canals, and reservoirs; 0-300 m; Ont.; Ala., Ark., Conn., D.C., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Ky., La., Md., Mass., Mich., Miss., Mo., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Okla., Oreg., Pa., R.I., S.C., Tenn., Tex., Va.; s South America.

Cabomba caroliniana , an important aquarium plant, is introduced in Oregon and probably in the northern part of its range where it is uncommon in several states. Formerly known from Kansas, it is thought to be extirpated there now. Although Delaware and West Virginia lie within the mapped area, I know of no collections from those states. In New England and parts of southeast United States, it is sometimes an aggressive weed. In parts of the southeastern United States, plants with purple-tinted flowers, possibly a response to some environmental factor, have been treated as Cabomba caroliniana var. pulcherrima . South American plants with yellow flowers have been called C . caroliniana var. flavida O/rgaard.

The submersed leaves of Cabomba caroliniana are similar in form to those of Limnophila (Scrophulariaceae; introduced in southeastern United States). The latter has whorled leaves in contrast to the opposite leaves of Cabomba .


Schneider, E. L. and J. M. Jeter. 1982. Morphological studies of the Nymphaeaceae. XII. The floral biology of Cabomba caroliniana . Amer. J. Bot. 69: 1410-1419.

Updated: 2018-03-19 14:24:40 gmt
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