Cabomba caroliniana Gray

Carolina fanwort

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Carolina fanwort is native to North America, but introduced to New England and elsewhere, probably due to its popularity in the aquarium trade. It can be an aggressive weed in New England.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), lacustrine (in lakes or ponds), riverine (in rivers or streams)

Characteristics

Habitat
  • aquatic
  • terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
Leaf position
some of the leaves are floating at the surface of the water
Leaf arrangement
  • alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
  • opposite: there are two leaves per node along the stem
Leaf blade length
6–35 mm
Petal or sepal number
there are three petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
Petal color
  • white
  • yellow
Specific leaf type
  • the leaf is divided into two equal parts which in turn are divided into two further parts; each of these parts are divided and each of these may be further divided
  • the leaf is divided into two equal parts, with five or more levels of division
  • the leaf is not divided, rather the blade is made up of one segment
  • the leaf is palmately compound (i.e., it has two or more leaflets radiating from a common point)
Floating leaf shape
  • the leaf blade is elliptic (widest near the middle and tapering at both ends)
  • the leaf blade is linear (very narrow with more or less parallel sides)
Underwater leaf blade width
15–55 mm
Fruit type (general)
the fruit is dry but does not split open when ripe
Underwater leaf length
10–35 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Clonal plantlets
    Turion length
    0 mm
  • Flowers
    Anther color
    there is a noticeable pink, reddish or purplish tint to the anthers
    Carpels fused
    the carpel is solitary or (if 2 or more) the carpels are not fused to one another
    Flower lower lip length
    0 mm
    Flower number
    1
    Flower position
    the flowers are above the surface of the water
    Flower symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
    Inflorescence type
    • the flowers grow out of the axil (point where a branch or leaf is attached to the main stem)
    • the inflorescence has only one flower on it
    Inflorescence width
    6–15 mm
    Length of flower stalk
    30–100 mm
    Length of peduncle
    30–100 mm
    Nectar spur
    the flower has no nectar spurs
    Number of carpels
    4–8
    Ovary position
    the sepals and/or petals are attached below the ovary
    Palate on corolla
    no
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes two cycles of petal- or sepal-like structures
    Petal appearance
    the petals are thin and delicate, and pigmented (colored other than green or brown)
    Petal color
    • white
    • yellow
    Petal fringed edges
    the petals are not fringed
    Petal fusion
    the perianth parts are separate
    Petal hairs on inner/upper surface
    there are no hairs on the inner/upper petal surface
    Petal length
    4–12 mm
    Petal number
    3
    Petal or sepal number
    there are three petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
    Pistil number
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    Sepal appearance
    the sepals resemble petals in color and texture
    Sepal length
    5–12 mm
    Sepal number
    3
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    the sepals are separate from one another
    Spur length
    0 mm
    Stamen number
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
    Stamen position relative to petals
    the stamens are lined up with the petals
    Stamens fused to petals
    the stamens are not fused to the petals or tepals
    Style number
    2–4
  • Fruits or seeds
    Fruit length
    4–7 mm
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is dry but does not split open when ripe
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is an achene (dry, usually 1-seeded, does not separate or split open at maturity)
  • Glands or sap
    Oil glands on nodes
    none of the nodes have oil glands
    Sap
    the sap is milky and opaque, and may be white or colored
  • Growth form
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Root septa
    the roots do not have transverse septa
    Roots floating in water
    there are no clusters of roots floating in the water
    Turions
    there are no turions on the plant
    Underground organs
    the plant has a rhizome (a horizontal underground stem with roots growing from it)
  • Leaves
    Bract position (Sparganium)
    NA
    Bract relative length
    At least 3854 mm
    Bracts
    neither the flowers nor their pedicels have bracts
    Floating leaf basal lobes
    • no
    • yes
    Floating leaf blade width
    1–4 mm
    Floating leaf length
    6–30 mm
    Floating leaf shape
    • the leaf blade is elliptic (widest near the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is linear (very narrow with more or less parallel sides)
    Floating leaf tip
    the tip of the floating leaf blade is rounded, with no point
    Floral bract form
    NA
    Floral bract length
    0 mm
    Leaf arrangement
    • alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
    • opposite: there are two leaves per node along the stem
    Leaf blade length
    6–35 mm
    Leaf blade veins
    the lateral veins radiate from the base and continue to spread away from the centerline of the leaf, or branch off the central vein at intervals
    Leaf blade width
    1–55 mm
    Leaf position
    some of the leaves are floating at the surface of the water
    Leaf special features
    none of the mentioned special features are present
    Leaf-like branch segments
    0
    Specific leaf type
    • the leaf is divided into two equal parts which in turn are divided into two further parts; each of these parts are divided and each of these may be further divided
    • the leaf is divided into two equal parts, with five or more levels of division
    • the leaf is not divided, rather the blade is made up of one segment
    • the leaf is palmately compound (i.e., it has two or more leaflets radiating from a common point)
    Staminate bract edge (Myriophyllum)
    NA
    Stipule appearance
    NA
    Stipule fused to leaf
    NA
    Stipules
    there are no stipules on the plant
    Stipules fused around stem
    NA
    Trap-bladder length
    0 mm
    Underwater leaf blade edges
    the underwater leaf has smooth edges, without teeth
    Underwater leaf blade shape
    • the underwater leaf blade is flabellate (fan-shaped)
    • the underwater leaf blade is linear (very narrow with more or less parallel sides)
    • the underwater leaf blade is reniform (kidney-shaped; wider than long)
    Underwater leaf blade width
    15–55 mm
    Underwater leaf length
    10–35 mm
    Underwater leaf stalk
    yes
    Underwater leaf stalk length
    10–40 mm
    Underwater leaf tip shape
    the tip of the underwater leaf is rounded, with no point
  • Place
    Habitat
    • aquatic
    • terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    Specific habitat
    • in lakes or ponds
    • in rivers or streams
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Flowering stem growth form
    the flowering stem is upright

Wetland Status

Occurs only in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: OBL)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present, invasive, prohibited
Maine
present, invasive, prohibited
Massachusetts
present, invasive, prohibited
New Hampshire
present, invasive, prohibited
Rhode Island
present, invasive
Vermont
absent

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

var. caroliniana

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Brasenia schrerberi:
leaves monomorphic, all alternate and floating, flowers with mostly 18-36 stamens, and underwater parts of plant heavily coated with mucilage (vs. C. caroliniana, with leaves strongly dimorphic--submersed, opposite, highly dissected ones and floating, alternate, simple ones, flowers with 3-6 stamens, and underwater parts of plant barely coated with mucilage).

Synonyms

  • Cabomba caroliniana var. pulcherrima Harper
  • Cabomba pulcherrima (Harper) Fassett

Family

Nymphaeaceae

Genus

Cabomba

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Cabomba caroliniana Gray E

Carolina fanwort. Cabomba caroliniana Gray var. pulcherrima Harper; C. pulcherrima (Harper) Fassett • CT, MA, NH, RI. Still or slow-moving water of lakes, streams, and canals, the water of varied pH.