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Carolina fanwort (Cabomba caroliniana)

Carolina fanwort Common Names: Fanwort

Description: This species is listed on the Michigan prohibited aquatic plant list. Introduced as an aquarium plant.

Habit: Aquatic; submergent perennial; typically grows in water depths ranging from 1-3 m (3-10 ft).

Leaves: Vary, submergent leaves opposite, palmately, finely dissected, floating leaves alternate, entire, small.

Stems: May reach up to 2 m (6.5 ft) in length; grass green or olive green; sometime reddish-brown in color.

Flowers: White in color, 3 petals, 3 petal-like sepals, flowers emergent, less than 1/2 in (13 mm) in diameter.

Fruit and seeds: 2-4 leathery pods per flower, each 2-3 cm long and 1 mm wide, usually containing 3 seeds each.

Habitat: Found in lakes, ponds, occasionally slow-moving rivers or streams.

Reproduction: Southern species sold in aquarium trade. Germination of seed less likely in north; spreads vegetative parts which adhere to boats and waterfowl; may also be dispersed by currents.

Similar species: Spineless hornwort or Coontail (Ceratophyllum echinatum) and Beck's water marigold (Bidens beckii) but do not have distinct petioles like Cabomba.

Monitoring and rapid response: Herbicides such as Endothall and Fluridone provide excellent control. Also, water level draw downs have been successful as well as introducing grass carp.

Credits: The Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI) has partnered with MISIN to provide the information in this fact sheet. Species images and/or information were used with permission from "A Field Identification Guide to Invasive Plants in Michigan's Natural Communities" and "A Field Guide to Invasive Plants of Aquatic and Wetland Habitats for Michigan.

Common Name:

Carolina fanwort

Scientific Name:

Cabomba caroliniana







USDA Symbol:


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