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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

This is a submerged or floating aquatic plant (about ½-12' long) that branches at right angles (90°). The jointed stems are pale green to reddish purple, glabrous, and fragile, often dividing into smaller segments. Along these stems, there are whorls of 5-14 divided leaves that curve upward; these leaves are 1-4 cm. long. The leaves are more crowded toward the growing tips of stems than elsewhere; they are medium to dark green and glabrous. Both stems and leaves have a tendency to be somewhat stiff and brittle, especially when they are coated with lime in calcareous water. Each leaf divides dichotomously into 2-4 segments (rarely more); these segments are narrowly linear (up to 0.5 mm. across) and flattened. Each leaf segment is conspicuously toothed along one side, while it is smooth (entire) on the other side. Coontail is monoecious, forming male (staminate) and female (pistillate) flowers on the same plant. Both types of flowers are produced in the axils of the leaves and they are sessile. Female flowers occur individually, while male flowers occur either individually or in pairs. Both types of flowers are very small in size (about 2 mm. in length), and they have involucres consisting of 8-14 floral bracts that surround the reproductive organs. These bracts are translucent and broadly oblong; their tips are truncate and fringed. There are neither sepals nor petals. Each female flower has a single pistil with a long slender style, while each male flower has 8-14 anthers that are sessile or nearly so (very short or absent filaments). The blooming period occurs intermittently during the summer and early autumn. Cross-pollination is accomplished through water currents. However, only a few flowers, if any, are produced by individual plants. The female flowers are replaced by 3-spined achenes. The body of each mature achene is 4-6 mm. long, ovoid in shape, slightly flattened, and wingless along its sides. Each achene has 2 basal spines and a single spine at its apex; these spines are 0.5-12.0 mm. in length and they are either straight or curved. Coontail has no real root system, although it is able to anchor itself in mud or sand through either lodged stems or the development of modified leaves. By late autumn, winter turions (tight buds of leaves) develop at the tips of stems that sink to the bottom of  a body of water, where they remain until spring of the following year. Growth and development begin again with the return of warmer weather. In addition to its achenes and winter turions, Coontail reproduces vegetatively whenever its stems divide into smaller segments.
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Ceratophyllum demersum L., 1753

Materials

Type status: Other material. Occurrence: recordedBy: Y. Ito ; Location: country: Myanmar ; verbatimLatitude: 16° 53' 19" N; verbatimLongitude: 95° 52' 29" E; Record Level: collectionID: TI040058; institutionCode: TI

Type status: Other material. Occurrence: recordedBy: Y. Ito ; Location: country: Myanmar ; verbatimLatitude: 16° 53' 19.18"; verbatimLongitude: 95° 52' 28.59"; Record Level: collectionID: TI05152; institutionCode: TI

Type status: Other material. Occurrence: recordedBy: Y. Ito ; Location: country: Myanmar ; Record Level: collectionID: MBK080650; institutionCode: TI

Type status: Other material. Occurrence: recordedBy: Y. Ito ; Location: country: Thailand ; locality: Kantchanabury; Hotel river Kwai ; verbatimLatitude: 14° 1' 59" N; verbatimLongitude: 99° 31' 10" E; Event: eventDate: Nov. 15, 2012 ; Record Level: collectionID: Y. Ito 1723; institutionCode: BKF

Type status: Other material. Occurrence: recordedBy: Y. Ito ; Location: country: Thailand ; locality: Bangkok ; verbatimLatitude: 13° 45' N; verbatimLongitude: 100° 30' E; Event: eventDate: Aug. 23, 1926 ; Record Level: collectionID: A. F. G. Kerr 11027; institutionCode: GH

Type status: Other material. Occurrence: recordedBy: Y. Ito ; Location: country: Thailand ; locality: Bangkok ; verbatimLatitude: 13° 45' N; verbatimLongitude: 100° 30' E; Event: eventDate: Aug. 23, 1926 ; Record Level: collectionID: A. Marcan 2135; institutionCode: GH

Distribution

Worldwide.

  • Ito, Yu, Barfod, Anders S. (2014): An updated checklist of aquatic plants of Myanmar and Thailand. Biodiversity Data Journal 2, 1019: 1019-1019, URL:http://dx.doi.org/10.3897/BDJ.2.e1019
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Plazi

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Miscellaneous Details

"Notes: Aquatic , Grown in Aquarium"
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Brief

Flowering class: Dicot Habit: Herb
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Description

Submerged aquatic herb. Stems up to 3m long and 2 mm in diameter, longitudinally grooved. Leaves in whorls of 7-11, 8-40 mm long, filiform, forked 1-2(3) times; margin with spine-tipped teeth, particularly in the apical segments. Flowers axillary, unisexual on the same plant; male flowers in many 1-3-flowered clusters per branch; female flowers solitary, few per branch. Fruit ovoid, ellipsoid to obovoid with an apical spine and 2 prominent basal spines, and raised dark spots on the surface.
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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

The native Coontail is occasional to common throughout Illinois. This species is native to a wide area of North America, from where it has spread to other parts of the world. Habitats include quiet inlets of lakes, ponds, rivers with slow-moving currents, marshes, and springs. Generally, Coontail is typically found in bodies of water with muddy bottoms, although it also occurs where the water bottom contains some sand or rocky material. Sometimes Coontail is cultivated as an aquarium plant. It has also been introduced deliberately into polluted bodies of water in bioremediation projects because of its ability to absorb suspended particles of chromium, lead, arsenic, and other chemicals.
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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Range Description

This species has a more or less cosmopolitan distribution, occurring from the Azores and Europe (Castroviejo et al. 1987, Preston and Croft 1997, Gardenfors 2010, WCSPF 2010) east through the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent to east and southeast Asia (Cook 1970), and widespread throughout China (Flora of China; eFlora 2011). It occurs in Africa north and south of the Sahara including Madagascar, as well as Australasia and North, Central and South America. It is apparently introduced in Mauritius, New Zealand and Hawaii (World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2010).
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"Maharashtra: Nasik, Pune, Raigad, Thane Karnataka: Hassan, Mysore, N. Kanara Kerala: Alapuzha Tamil Nadu: Coimbatore, Dharmapuri, Kancheepuram, Thiruvallur, Tirunelveli"
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"
Global Distribution

Cosmopolitan

Indian distribution

State - Kerala, District/s: Alappuzha

"
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Distribution in Egypt

Nile and Mediterranean regions, eastern desert (along Suez Canal).

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Global Distribution

Cosmopolitan.

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Alta., B.C., Man., N.B., N.W.T., N.S., Ont., P.E.I., Que., Sask., Yukon; Ala., Alaska, Ariz., Ark., Calif., Colo., Conn., Del., D.C., Fla., Ga., Idaho, Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kans., Ky., La., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., Mont., Nebr., Nev., N.H., N.J., N.Mex., N.Y., N.C., N.Dak., Ohio, Okla., Oreg., Pa., R.I., S.C., S.Dak., Tenn., Tex., Utah, Vt., Va., Wash., W.Va., Wis., Wyo.; worldwide.
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Worldwide distribution

Subcosmopolitan in temperate and tropical regions.
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Distribution: Cosmopolitan
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Much branched, rootless, submerged, aquatic plants, 15-60 (-90) cm long. Leaves whorled, 1-4 times dichotomously branched, minutely toothed at irregular intervals, often terminated by 1 or 2 sharp bristles. Flowers minute, solitary, axillary, unisexual, male and female flowers at different nodes. Perianth segments 6-15, upto 1 mm long, connate at the base, each segment terminated by 2 bristles. Male flowers consisting of 8-30 stamens, spirally arranged on a convex receptacle, narrowed into the base, subsessile, apex terminated by two spinous incurved processes; anthers erect, 2-lobed, pollen elliptical or round. Female flower consists of a sessile carpel, ovary 1-celled, 1-ovuled, style simple, stigma oblique, style elongating in fruit forming the apical spine. Fruit a nutlet, 3.5-4 mm long, 2.5-3 mm broad (excluding spines), sessile with persistent perianth, ovoid, compressed, provided with 3 spines; one apical and 2-lateral, near the base.
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Description

Stems to 3 m. Leaves bright green, coarse textured, 1--2 × dichotomously divided; whorls 1.5--6 cm in diam.; segments linear to filiform, 1.5--2 cm × 1--5 µm, not inflated. Flowers 1--3 mm in diam. Achene dark green to reddish brown, body (excluding spines) 3.5--6 × 2--4 mm, smooth or slightly tuberculate, margins wingless and spineless, facial spines absent; basal spines or tubercles 2, 0.1--12 mm, straight or curved; terminal spine (persistent style) 0.5--14 mm. Fl. and fr. Jun--Sep. 2n = 24, 38, 40, 48.
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Description

Stems to 3 m; apical leaf whorls densely crowded. Leaves bright green, coarse-textured. Leaf blade simple or forked into 2-4(-5) ultimate segments (forking of largest leaves 1st or 2d order, rarely 3d order), segments not inflated, mature leaf whorls 1.5-6 cm diam., marginal denticles conspicuous, usually strongly raised on broad base of green tissue; 1st leaves of plumule simple. Achene dark green or reddish brown, body (excluding spines) 3.5-6 × 2-4 × 1-2.5 mm, basal spines or tubercles 2 (rarely absent), straight or curved, 0.1-12 mm, spine bases occasionally inconspicuously webbed, marginal spines absent, terminal spine straight, 0.5-14 mm, margins wingless. 2 n = 24, 38, 40, 48.
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Diagnostic Description

Diagnostic

"Much branched, rootless, submerged, aquatic plants, 15-60 (-90) cm long. Leaves whorled, 1-4 times dichotomously branched, minutely toothed at irregular intervals, often terminated by 1 or 2 sharp bristles. Flowers minute, solitary, axillary, unisexual, male and female flowers at different nodes. Perianth segments 6-15, upto 1 mm long, connate at the base, each segment terminated by 2 bristles. Male flowers consisting of 8-30 stamens, spirally arranged on a convex receptacle, narrowed into the base, subsessile, apex terminated by two spinous incurved processes; anthers erect, 2-lobed, pollen elliptical or round. Female flower consists of a sessile carpel, ovary 1-celled, 1-ovuled, style simple, stigma oblique, style elongating in fruit forming the apical spine. Fruit a nutlet, 3.5-4 mm long, 2.5-3 mm broad (excluding spines), sessile with persistent perianth, ovoid, compressed, provided with 3 spines; one apical and 2-lateral, near the base."
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Diagnostic

Habit: Herb
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Synonym

Ceratophyllum apiculatum Chamisso
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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

The native Coontail is occasional to common throughout Illinois. This species is native to a wide area of North America, from where it has spread to other parts of the world. Habitats include quiet inlets of lakes, ponds, rivers with slow-moving currents, marshes, and springs. Generally, Coontail is typically found in bodies of water with muddy bottoms, although it also occurs where the water bottom contains some sand or rocky material. Sometimes Coontail is cultivated as an aquarium plant. It has also been introduced deliberately into polluted bodies of water in bioremediation projects because of its ability to absorb suspended particles of chromium, lead, arsenic, and other chemicals.
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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology

This species typically grows in permanent ponds, slow-flowing streams and the less saline parts of sea inlets (Wood 1997, Ghazanfar 2003).


Systems
  • Freshwater
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General Habitat

"Small ditches and ponds at low lands, sometimes in brackish water"
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Nile, irrigation canals, shallow or deep water, swamps, lakes, brakish water.

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Fresh to slightly brackish rivers, streams, ditches, lakes, ponds, pools, marshes, swamps; 0-1700m.
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Depth range based on 8 specimens in 1 taxon.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 2 - 2
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Habitat & Distribution

Streams, ponds, lakes. Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jilin, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan, Taiwan, Xinjiang, Xizang, Yunnan, Zhejiang [Cosmopolitan].
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Associations

Faunal Associations

The leaves of Coontail provide hiding places for small aquatic organisms and its leaves are sometimes grazed by snails. Both the foliage and seeds of this aquatic plant are eaten by the American Coot (Fulica americana), many species of waterfowl (see the Waterfowl Table), and some turtles (Legler, 1943; Ernst et al., 1994), including the Musk Turtle (Sternotherus odoratus), Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina), Blanding's Turtle (Emys blandingii), Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta), River Cooter (Pseudemys concinna), and Slider (Trachemys scripta). This aquatic plant is also eaten by carp and, to a lesser extent, by muskrats. The foliage and seeds of Coontail can spread to new wetlands through human activity. For example, when people dump the content of aquariums into waterways that contain Coontail, it can easily establish itself in such habitats. Similarly, because Coontail can cling to anchors, boat trailers, fishing nets, and dredging equipment, it may be transported considerable distances from one body water to another.
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Foodplant / open feeder
adult of Phaedon armoraciae grazes on live, perforated leaf of Ceratophyllum demersum
Remarks: season: 5-11

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering and fruiting: October-January
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Flowering/Fruiting

Flowering spring-late fall.
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Flower/Fruit

Fl. Per.: March June.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Ceratophyllum demersum

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Ceratophyllum demersum

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 10
Specimens with Barcodes: 16
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
Zhuang, X.

Reviewer/s
Juffe Bignoli, D., Homsombath, K., Nophasead, L. & Tognelli, M.

Contributor/s
Lansdown, R.V., Patzelt, A. & Knees, S.

Justification
This species is listed as Least Concern as it occurs in suitable habitat throughout the region and is not subject to any known significant threat.

History
  • 2011
    Least Concern
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Population

Population

There is no information on global populations although it is a widespread and common plant in freshwater habitats.


Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats

There are no known significant past, ongoing or future threats to this species.

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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
There are no conservation measures in place or needed.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is full sun and relatively clear water up to 9' deep that has adequate levels of nutrients; water pH can be mildly acidic to alkaline. At the water's bottom, the soil should consist of mud, sandy mud, or muddy gravel. Coontail is more tolerant of shade than the majority of aquatic plants and it is able to tolerate some turbidity in the water if it is not excessive. This aquatic plant can adapt to sites with either stagnant water or slow-moving currents where there is some protection from wind and waves. Because of its phytotoxic properties, Coontail can inhibit the growth of phytoplankton and blue-green algae (cyanobacteria). At some locations, it can spread aggressively and become a pest.
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Wikipedia

Ceratophyllum demersum

Ceratophyllum demersum (hornwort, rigid hornwort, coontail, or coon's tail[1]) is a species of Ceratophyllum. It is a submerged, free-floating aquatic plant, with a cosmopolitan distribution, native to all continents except Antarctica. It is a harmful introduced weed in New Zealand.[1] It is also a popular aquarium plant.

Description[edit]

Ceratophyllum dersum grows in still or very slow-moving water. The stems reach lengths of 1–3 m, with numerous side shoots making a single specimen appear as a large, bushy mass. The leaves are produced in whorls of six to twelve, each leaf 8–40 mm long, simple, or forked into two to eight thread-like segments edged with spiny teeth; they are stiff and brittle. It is monoecious, with separate male and female flowers produced on the same plant. The flowers are small, 2 mm long, with eight or more greenish-brown petals; they are produced in the leaf axils. The fruit is a small nut 4–5 mm long, usually with three spines, two basal and one apical, 1–12 mm long. Plants with the two basal nut spines very short are sometimes distinguished as Ceratophyllum demersum var. apiculatum (Cham.) Asch., and those with no basal spines sometimes distinguished as Ceratophyllum demersum var. inerme Gay ex Radcl.-Sm.[2][3][4][5][6] It can form turions: buds that sink to the bottom of the water that stay there during the winter and form new plants in spring.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Ceratophyllum demersum grows in lakes, ponds, and quiet streams with summer water temperatures of 15-30 °C[citation needed] and a rich nutrient status. In North America, it occurs in the entire US and Canada, except Newfoundland.[7] In Europe, it has been reported as far north as at a latitude of 66 degrees in Norway.[8] Other reported occurrences include China, Siberia (at 66 degrees North), Burkina Faso (Africa), Vietnam, and New Zealand (introduced).[9]

Ecology[edit]

C. demersum has allelopathic qualities as it excretes substances that inhibit the growth of phytoplankton and cyanobacteria (blue-green algae).[1][10] Its dense growth can outcompete native underwater vegetation, leading to loss of biodiversity. In New Zealand, it has caused problems with hydroelectric power plants.[1]

Cultivation and uses[edit]

This species is often used as a floating freshwater plant in both coldwater and tropical aquaria. Though without roots, it may attach itself to the substrate or objects in the aquarium. Its fluffy, filamentous, bright-green green leaves provide excellent cover for newly hatched fish. It is propagated by cuttings.[11]

In aquaria this plant appears to drop all its leaves when exposed to products designed to kill snails. The stems can recover relatively quickly, growing new leaves within a few weeks.

Invasive species[edit]

Hornwort is a declared weed under the Tasmanian Weed Management Act 1999 in Tasmania, Australia,[12] and is classed as an unwanted organism in New Zealand.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Ceratophyllum Demersum on the Global Invasive Species database (2006).
  2. ^ Flora of China: Ceratophyllum demersum
  3. ^ Flora of North America: Ceratophyllum demersum
  4. ^ Flora of NW Europe: Ceratophyllum demersum
  5. ^ Blamey, M. & Grey-Wilson, C. (1989). Flora of Britain and Northern Europe. ISBN 0-340-40170-2
  6. ^ Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan ISBN 0-333-47494-5.
  7. ^ USDA PLANTS database on C. demersum as of 2011.
  8. ^ ISSG database, reports in Norway (based on Mjelde, 1997)
  9. ^ ISSG: distribution of C. demersum
  10. ^ http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/Algae/cyanobacteria.html#4
  11. ^ Hiscock, P. (2003). Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants. Interpret Publishing, United States and Canada ISBN 0-7641-5521-0.
  12. ^ "Hornwort". Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment. Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  13. ^ "Hornwort". MPI Biosecurity New Zealand. 29 May 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-21. 
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Notes

Comments

Specimens of Ceratophyllum demersum with short basal spines or tubercles have been misidentified as C . submersum Linnaeus, a species not known in the New World despite reports to the contrary. Ceratophyllum demersum is the most common species of Ceratophyllum in North America and also the least likely to be found with fruit, its reproduction being primarily asexual. Predominantly low leaf order is, therefore, the most reliable means of identifying this species. 

 Noted for its prolific growth, Ceratophyllum demersum occasionally has attained status as a serious weed.

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Comments

The plant is used as a cooling agent for biliosness and scorpion sting. The achenes are eaten by wild ducks (Subramanyam, l.c.). It is also commonly cultivated in aquaria.
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This species is widespread throughout China and expected to be reported from additional provinces.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: As treated here (following Kartesz, 1994), excludes Ceratophyllum echinaceum, sometimes considered a variety of C. demersum. LEM 27Jun95.

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