Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Common Hornwort - Ceratophyllum demersum   L.
Members of Ceratophyllum with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Nymphaeales » Family Ceratophyllaceae
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AuthorL.
DistributionMostly outer Coastal Plain, but extending sporadically inland to Forsyth and Rowan counties. A specimen from Orange County came from a UNC professor's garden.

Newf. to AK, south to FL, TX, and CA; W.I., Mex., C.A., S.A.
AbundanceUncommon in the Coastal Plain, but more populations will likely be found with directed searches. Extremely rare in the Piedmont.
HabitatImpoundments, ponds, woodland pools, slow-moving streams and rivers, fresh-tidal to brackish waters of sounds, interdune ponds.
See also Habitat Account for General Herbaceous Ponds
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting May-September.
IdentificationCommon Hornwort can best be told from our other two species by its leaves, which are only 1-2 times forked (vs. 3-4 times). Though hardly common, it is by far the most numerous of the 3 hornwort species in the state.
Taxonomic CommentsHornworts/Coontails (genus Ceratophyllum) are submersed aquatic plants with long stems and branches. Leaves are very slender, linear, forked, and are arranged in whorls of 3-11 leaves. Tiny flowers and fruits occur at some leaf bases. Plants superficially resemble water-milfoils, but leaves of milfoils are pinnately dissected into many segments, not merely forked.
Other Common Name(s)Coontail, Rigid Hornwort
State RankS3?
Global RankG5
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