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Coontail - Ceratophyllum demersum
Family: Ceratophyllaceae

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TPIUC

Description

Coontail is a perennial plant growing beneath the water surface. Plants produce only one branch per node. They lack roots but branches are sometimes modified as "rhizoids" giving the plants a rooted appearance. The leaves are sessile, whorled, ca. 3 cm long, 5 or more at a node, rigid and often brittle. The leaves are 1-2 (sometimes 3) times forked into 2-4 filiform or linear segments. Minute teeth occur along 1 margin of each ultimate segment. The flowers are unisexual, very small, solitary in the axil of a leaf of a given whorl, each subtended by an 8-10 parted, 1-2-mm-long involucre. Sepals and petals are absent. The fruit is one-seeded with a spiny base.

Interesting facts

Coontail grows in rivers, streams, lakes, lagoons and irrigation ditches throughout temperate North America. It is tolerant to fluctuating water levels and high turbidity. Stems break easily and pieces continue to grow separately. The fruits are probably dispersed by animals and by water.

Large populations restrict navigation and recreational water use. C. demersum has the ability to grow in areas unsuitable for other aquatic species. These plants are sometimes the dominantones in a given habitat, crowding out other species.

Links to more information

US Army Corp Noxious Plant Database


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Website, video, and graphics by Rob Nelson
For more information on this plant or management please contact US Army Corp of Engineers

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