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Cabomba caroliniana A. Gray
Carolina Water-shield

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

Cabomba caroliniana, plant
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Cabomba caroliniana, plant
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Cabomba caroliniana A. Gray
Carolina fanwort

Image of Cabomba caroliniana

General Information
Symbol: CACA
Group: Dicot
Family: Cabombaceae
Duration: Perennial
Growth Habit : Forb/herb
Native Status : CAN   N
L48   N
Data Source and Documentation
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Plants-NRCS Logos
green round image for nativity Native blue round image for introduced Introduced ocre round image for introduced and nativity Both white round image for no status Absent/Unreported
image for native, but no county data Native, No County Data image for introduced, but no county data Introduced, No County Data both introduced and native, but no county data Both, No County Data
Native Status:
lower 48 status L48    Alaska status AK    Hawaii status HI    Puerto Rico status PR    Virgin Islands status VI    Navassa Island NAV    Canada status CAN    Greenland status GL    Saint Pierre and Michelon status SPM    North America NA   


click on a thumbnail to view an image, or see all the Cabomba thumbnails at the Plants Gallery

Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 vols. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. Vol. 2: 76. Provided by Kentucky Native Plant Society . Scanned by Omnitek Inc . Usage Requirements .




Click on a scientific name below to expand it in the PLANTS Classification Report.
Rank Scientific Name and Common Name
Kingdom Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass Magnoliidae
Order Nymphaeales
Family Cabombaceae – Water-shield family
Genus Cabomba Aubl. – fanwort
Species Cabomba caroliniana A. Gray – Carolina fanwort

Subordinate Taxa

The Plants Database includes the following 2 subspecies of Cabomba caroliniana . Click below on a thumbnail map or name for subspecies profiles. Plant is native (blue) Native Plant is introduced Introduced Plant is introduced Native and Introduced Related taxa legend Distribution of <i>
Cabomba caroliniana</i>
A. Gray var. <i>
caroliniana </i>
Cabomba caroliniana var. caroliniana
Carolina fanwort Distribution of <i>
Cabomba caroliniana</i>
A. Gray var. <i>
Cabomba caroliniana var. pulcherrima
Carolina fanwort

Legal Status

Threatened and Endangered Information:
This plant is listed by the U.S. federal government or a state. Common names are from state and federal lists. Click on a place name to get a complete protected plant list for that location.
Indiana Carolina fanwort Extirpated
Kentucky Carolina fanwort Threatened
Noxious Weed Information
This plant is listed by the U.S. federal government or a state. Common names are from state and federal lists. Click on a place name to get a complete noxious weed list for that location, or click here for a composite list of all Federal and State Noxious Weeds .
California Carolina fanwort Q list (temporary "A" list noxious weed, pending final determination )
Connecticut fanwort Invasive, banned
Maine fanwort Invasive aquatic plant
Massachusetts Carolina fanwort, fanwort Prohibited
Vermont fanwort Class A noxious weed
Washington fanwort Class B noxious weed fanwort Wetland and aquatic weed quarantine
U.S. Weed Information
Cabomba caroliniana fanwort This plant can be weedy or invasive according to the authoritative sources noted below.This plant may be known by one or more common names in different places, and some are listed above. Click on an acronym to view each weed list, or click here for a composite list of Weeds of the U.S.
STATE Assorted authors. State noxious weed lists for 46 states . State agriculture or natural resource departments.

Wetland Status

Interpreting Wetland Status

North America
Arid West OBL
Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain OBL
Eastern Mountains and Piedmont OBL
Great Plains OBL
Midwest OBL
Northcentral & Northeast OBL
Western Mountains, Valleys, and Coast OBL

Related Links

More Accounts and Images
ARS Germplasm Resources Information Network (CACA)
Flora of North America (CACA)
Integrated Taxonomic Information System (CACA)
Jepson Interchange (University of California - Berkeley) (CACA)
Kemper Center for Home Gardening (CACA)
USF Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants (CACA)
University of Tennessee Herbarium (Distribution) (CACA)
Related Websites
Aquatic, Wetland and Invasive Plant Info. System: abstract & image (CACA)
CT-USDA NRCS Invasive Species Identification Sheets (CACA)
Tropica: water color drawing & abstract (CACA)
WA-NonNative Freshwater Plants (CACA)
Wetlands Not Weedlands (CACA)



Source Large Mammals Small Mammals Water Birds Terrestrial Birds


Source Large Mammals Small Mammals Water Birds Terrestrial Birds

Description of Values

Value Class Food Cover

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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: 2020-04-10 19:32:23 gmt
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