Alternative common names:
Carolina fanwort, Carolina water-shield, fanwort, fish grass, Washington grass/plant.
Cabomba caroliniana is a rooted perennial aquatic plant, which grows submerged with branching stems reaching 2m or longer. It has feathery green leaves, which are divided into narrow segments.
Where does this species come from?North America.
What is its invasive status in South Africa?NEMBA Category 1a.
Where in South Africa is it a problem?Western Cape, Eastern Cape.
How does it spread?The stem fragments break easily when disturbed and float on the water surface. They then spread throughout the catchment area during floods.
Why is it a problem?
It poses a serious threat to freshwater systems due to a range of environmental, social and economic impacts.
What does it look like?
Leaves: Fan-like, submerged green leaves.
Flowers: Single flowers measuring 10-20mm across appear approximately 2cm above the water surface. Milky white, pale yellow or purplish, appearing to have six petals.
Does the plant have any uses?
Acts as a food source for water birds and provides cover for some small fish and plankton. Commonly used as an aquatic plant because of its delicate appearance.