Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Carolina Mosquito-fern - Azolla caroliniana   Willdenow
Members of Salviniaceae:
Only member of Azolla in NC.
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Section 2 » Order Hydropteridales » Family Salviniaceae
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DistributionPresent over most of the Coastal Plain, and westward into the eastern Piedmont -- ranging to Orange, Montgomery, and Anson counties. Also a disjunct record in the northern Mountains (Ashe County).

This species has a wide range, from Atlantic to Pacific, and south to southern FL, TX, and CA. Also Mex., W.I., S.A., Eurasia.
AbundanceLocally fairly common in the Coastal Plain, but rare to locally uncommon in the eastern Piedmont. Very rare farther west, and generally absent from the western half of the state.
HabitatThis aquatic species floats on the surface of still waters -- in ponds, lakes, pools, and other such waters, especially in millponds and farmponds.
PhenologyFruits from June to September.
IdentificationThis is a very small species that can be green to red to maroon in color. The entire plant is only about 2/5-inch across, but as it always grows in dense patches, single individuals are hard to distinguish. A given plant has several fronds in different directions, spreading radially. The leaves are rounded but scale-like; see photos on Google images for a picture of what they look like, as a written description will not suffice. Basically, a reddish patch on a pond or lake surface will be this species. If the plants are green, then you may have difficulty in identifying it without looking through a hand lens or holding some in your hand, as each individual plant will then be obvious and be the size of a small fingernail.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Eastern Mosquito-fern, American Water-fern, Mosquito Fern, Water Fern
State RankS3 [S3S4]
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
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B.A. SorrieAbundant in pool by brick factory, 3 miles N of Wadesboro on rte. 52. AnsonPhoto_natural
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