Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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Cabomba caroliniana

Higher Taxonomy
Family: CabombaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Perennial herb, aquatic, rhizomes in mud. Stem: elongate, leafy, ends floating. Leaf: of 2 kinds: submersed, palmately dissected, opposite [whorled], short-petioled, not peltate; floating, simple, alternate, petioled, peltate, entire; stipules 0. Inflorescence: flowers 1 on long axillary peduncles, generally on or above water surface. Flower: bisexual, parts +- free; sepals, petals each 3[4], alternate, persistent; stamens 3--6 or 18--36(51), filaments slender, anthers opening lengthwise; carpels [1]2--18, ovaries superior, 1-chambered, ovules [1]2--3[5]. Fruit: achene- or follicle-like, indehiscent. Seed: 1--3, aril 0.
Genera In Family: 2 genera, 6 species: temperate, tropical America, Africa, eastern Asia, Australia; some Cabomba species cultivated for aquaria. Note: Separation from Nymphaeaceae (carpels fused, fruits berry-like) confirmed by molecular data (Les et al. 1999 Syst Bot 24:28--46).
Unabridged Note: Pollinated by wind (Brasenia) or insects (Cabomba).
eFlora Treatment Author: Thomas J. Rosatti
Scientific Editor: Bruce G. Baldwin, Robert E. Preston.
Genus: CabombaView Description 

Common Name: FANWORT
Leaf: blade +- >= petiole; submersed leaves dissected into many +- thread-like to linear segments. Flower: perianth white to +- yellow [purple]; carpels [1]3[4], stigmas head-like. Seed: 1--3.
Species In Genus: 5 species: generally tropical America. Etymology: (Probably aboriginal)
Cabomba caroliniana A. Gray
Leaf: submersed petiole 7--30(40) mm, blade 10--40 mm, (15)30--60 mm wide, +- deltate to reniform; floating 0--few, 6--20(30) mm, 1--4 mm wide, linear-elliptic, +- entire, base +- notched. Flower: sepals (5)7--12 mm, white or cream; petals +- > sepals, colored as sepals except base with 2 +- yellow nectaries. Fruit: 4--7 mm. Chromosomes: 2n=+-78,+-104.
Ecology: Ponds, slow streams; Elevation: 0 m. Bioregional Distribution: SnJV; Distribution Outside California: Oregon; native to eastern United States (except northern part of range), southern South America. Flowering Time: May--Sep Note: Reportedly spreading rapidly in Sacramento Delta, expected widely.
Jepson eFlora Author: Thomas J. Rosatti
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)
Noxious Weed listed by CDFA
Weed listed by Cal-IPC

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Next taxon: Nymphaeaceae

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Botanical illustration including Cabomba caroliniana

botanical illustration including Cabomba caroliniana


Citation for this treatment: Thomas J. Rosatti 2012, Cabomba caroliniana, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on December 14, 2019.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2019, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on December 14, 2019.

No expert verified images found for Cabomba caroliniana.

Geographic subdivisions for Cabomba caroliniana:
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


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Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
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All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.