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Cabomba aquatica.png
Cabomba aquatica (from Lindley 1853)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
Order: Nymphaeales
Family: Cabombaceae
Genus: Cabomba

See text

Cabomba is an aquatic plant genus, one of two belonging to the family Cabombaceae. It has divided submerged leaves in the shape of a fan (hence the vernacular name fanwort) and is much favoured by aquarists as an ornamental and oxygenating plant for fishtanks. Use in the aquarium trade has led to some species being introduced to parts of the world, such as Australia, where they have become pestilential weeds.


Cabomba as an aquarium plant[edit]

Cabomba is frequently planted in aquaria, as an attractive-leaved water plant that is fast-growing (up to one inch per day). Green Cabomba (Cabomba caroliniana) is the most common, as well as the easiest aquarium subject. By contrast Red Cabomba (Cabomba furcata) is considered[by whom?] to be one of the hardest plants to take care of in the aquarium.

Cabomba plants in the aquarium require good light (i.e. 1.5-3 Watts per gallon), and warm water temperatures (from 18°-32°C). They also benefit from regular CO2 injection and a good quality substrate that is rich in all of the macro- and micronutrients (aquarists commonly use proprietary fertilizer solutions). Cabomba may be propagated by cuttings (typically a 4 inch piece of stem), which require good light conditions to root. When kept outdoors it is hardy to Zone 5. In the fall the stems break apart into sections and sink to the bottom. In spring each one sprouts as an individual plant.

Flowers and reproduction[edit]

The perianth of Cabomba is either "trimerous" (having members in each whorl in groups of three) or "bimerous" (in groups of two) with white oval-shaped petals and is usually about 2.0 cm cross when full developed. The petals are unlike the sepals in that the former have two yellow ear-shaped nectaries at the base. Petals may also have purplish edges. Flowers are protogynous, having primarily female sexual structures on the first day of appearance and then switching to male on the second and subsequent days. Flowers emerge and are designed to be pollinated above the waterline. Principal pollinators are flies and other small flying insects.[1]


  1. ^ Klaus Kubitzki; Jens G. Rohwer; Volker Bittrich (28 July 1993). Flowering Plants · Dicotyledons: Magnoliid, Hamamelid and Caryophyllid Families. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 159. ISBN 978-3-540-55509-4. 
  • Ørgaard, M. (1991). The genus Cabomba (Cabombaceae) - a taxonomic study. Nordic Journal of Botany 11: 179-203
  • Fassett, N.C. 1953. A monograph of Cabomba. Castanea

External links[edit]

Media related to Cabomba at Wikimedia Commons