Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Ceratophyllum demersum L.
- Family: Coontail (Ceratophyllaceae)
- Flowering: July-September
- Field Marks: This aquatic plant is distinguished by its whorled, toothed leaves and its tiny,
sessile, axillary flowers and beaked fruits.
- Habitat: Lakes, ponds, slow streams.
- Habit: Herbaceous aquatic perennial.
- Stems: Much branched, elongated, smooth, varying in length according to the depth of the water.
- Leaves: Whorled, sessile, up to 1 1/2 inches long, smooth, divided usually into 3-forked, nearly thread-like segments, the segments flattened and toothed.
- Flowers: Solitary in the axils of the leaves, the male and female borne separately, each subtended by an 8- to 12-cleft bract.
- Sepals: 0.
- Petals: 0.
- Stamens: 10-20.
- Pistils: One, the ovary superior.
- Fruits: Achenes ellipsoid, flattened, smooth, wingless, the body 1/6-1/4 inch long, with 2 basal spurs up to 1/4 inch long and a beak 1/8-1/4 inch long.
- Notes: The length and texture of the stems, the degree of toothing on the leaves, and the characters of the fruit are all variable. The fruits are eaten by ducks.
Previous Species -- Awnless Beggar-ticks (Bidens polylepis)
Return to Species List -- Group 6
Next Species -- Rough Avens (Geum laciniatum)