Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Cabomba caroliniana Gray in Ann. Lyc. N. Y. 4: 46. 1837; Orgaard in Nord. J. Bot. 11: 199, f. 2D. 1991. C. aquatica auct. non Aubl. 1775; Aleykutty & Inamdar in Curr. Sci. 47: 136, ff. 1 - 5. 1978.

Stems up to 2 m long, branched, thinly mucilaginous; shoots green, sometimes reddish brown. Petioles 1 - 3 cm long, pubescent. Submerged leaves finely dissected flabellate in outline, 2 - 5 cm wide; terminal segments slightly spathulate, 0.3 - 0.8 mm broad, with an obscure midrib. Floating leaves peltate, linear-oblong to linear-elliptic, 5 - 20 x 1.5 - 3 mm, often emarginate at one end, usually pubescent beneath, green. Flowers 1 - 1.5 cm across, 0.6 - 1.2 cm long, creamy white with a pair of yellow spots at base of each petal, rising above water on peduncles from upper axils; peduncles 1.5 - 8 cm long, pubescent. Sepals and petals 3 each, the former elliptic, the. latter obovate, rounded at apex and auriculate near base, 6 - 12 mm long. Stamens 3 - 6. Carpels 2 - 4 elongate, divergent at maturity, puberulous. Seeds ovoid, 1.5 - 3 x 1 - 5 mm, covered with hygroscopic hairs.

Fl. & Fr. May - Aug.

Distrib. India: Fresh water ponds and ditches around Kochi in Kerala - introduced.

Native of N. America.

Notes. Aleykutty & Inamdar (l.c.) reported this plant from fresh water ponds and ditches around Kochi in Kerala as C. aquatica Aubl. Except for the creamy white colour of the flower and the emarginate nature of the linear-oblong floating peltate leaves, as seen in their drawings, all other characters mentioned by them are generalised in nature and both these two characters are applicable only to C. caroliniana Gray (Gardner in Hook. Ic. Pl. 7: t. 642 & Fassett, op. cit. p. 120). On the other hand, in C. aquatica Aubl. the flowers are yellow and the floating peltate leaves are broadly elliptic to orbicular and entire in outline.

The plant is commonly grown in fresh water aquaria for their decorative dark green fan-shaped submerged leaves. It probably got introduced into Kerala from discarded aquarium plantlings. Under indoor conditions, this plant never produce floating leaves and flowers and always remain completely submerged and thus are often mistaken for Limnophila species. The plant, however, can be easily recognised by its submerged leaves being long-petiolate and leaf-segments 2 - 3-chotomously branched, while in Limnophila they are sessile and pinnately divided.

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