Common name: Cabomba, Fanwort, Carolina Watershield, Fish Grass, Washington Grass, Watershield, Carolina Fanwort, Common Cabomba
Cabomba caroliniana A.Gray APNI*
Description: Aquatic herb with stems branched, to 2 (or up to 5 or more) m long, with white or reddish hairs, rooting at nodes of creeping runners and lower stems into substrate.
Submerged leaves dissected, initially trichotomously or more, subsequently mainly dichotomously to produce smooth terete ultimate segments after 3–7 branchings, producing a fan-shaped leaf c. 5–6 cm across; upper leaves almost sessile, lower leaves with petiole to 3 cm long. Floating leaves usually < 2 cm long.
Flowers 10–20 mm diam. Perianth segments 5–10 mm long, white or cream with yellow bases and may also have a pink to purplish tinge. Stamens 6. Carpels commonly 3; ovules usually 3 per carpel.
Fruiting pedicels recurved.
Distribution and occurrence: Not common, grows in still or slow-flowing freshwater to 3 m deep (or sometimes deeper, but prefers permanent shallow water), in ponds, lakes, dams, channels and quiet streams; can survive unattached. This species is used in the aquarium trade; it is a serious aquatic weed elsewhere in the world. Native of America.
NSW subdivisions: *NC, *CC
Other Australian states: *Qld *Vic. *N.T.
Cabomba is a feathery-leaved, mostly submerged aquatic herb that can grow quickly to produce large amounts of plant material that can have serious environmental and economic impacts. It can reproduce from, and be spread by the movement of, plant fragments. See also Weeds in Australia profile compiled by P.G. Kodela (2007).
Text by S. W. L. Jacobs; revised by P.G. Kodela (July 2012)
Taxon concept: Flora of NSW 1 (1990)
APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.