Ceratophyllum submersum

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Ceratophyllum submersum
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Order: Ceratophyllales
Family: Ceratophyllaceae
Genus: Ceratophyllum
C. submersum
Binomial name
Ceratophyllum submersum
Ceratophyllum submersum

Ceratophyllum submersum, commonly known as the soft hornwort or tropical hornwort,[2][3] is a species of Ceratophyllum. It is a submerged, free-floating aquatic plant.[4] It has been reported from Europe, Central Asia, northern Africa, scattered places in tropical Africa, Turkey, Oman, Florida, and the Dominican Republic.[5][6][7][8][9][10] It is similar to the submerged macrophyte Ceratophyllum demersum, a congeneric plant that is found in most regions of the world.[11]


The C. submersum, is a free floating aquatic plant which forks from stem three to four times and ends have 6 to 8 threadlike tips. Compared to the leaves of C. demersum which fork just one to two times, ends in 3 to 4 tips, as a result the C. submersum has a more delicate look to it.[12] The temperature tolerance is suggested to be between 4°C to 30°C, the optimal temperature is noted to be 15°C to 30°C.[13] The height of the plant is often 6 in. -12 in. (15-30 cm) or 12 in. -18 in. (30-45 cm).[3]


C. submersum prefers to colonize eutrophic waters around agricultural systems.[11] C. submersum is a self-regulating rapid grower like Ceratophyllum demersum. It strives in a moderately lit environment. In a strong lighted environment C. submersum attains an auburn color tint.[14] Since this aquatic plant has a fast growth it has to be trimmed often, or at least be provided a larger tank or environment to accommodate it for proper function.[15] It is found submerged in freshwater[16] in tropical regions of the world, with the species being introduced in newer areas around the world, such as Ireland.[17] It has been found in the Rosetta branch of the Nile River of Egypt, where it thrives in either various locations at different times of the year.[18]


Its presence in waters have been associated with a decrease in nitrogen forms such NH4 and NO3 in water, but an increase in pH, conductivity and dissolved oxygen.[18] While C. demersum has been negatively associated with all phytoplankton classes, C. submersum was positively associated with them, chlorophyll a and Cyanophyceae.[18] C. submersum and C. demersum do not share the same habitat, with the cosmopolitan C. demersum being more distributed, indicating a similar niches. In some cases, C. submersum can overtake C. demersum in one vegetative season in a body of water.[11]

Human uses[edit]

C. submersum is often used in aquariums as a way to decrease nitrogen in artificial aquatic systems. However, it is not as common in usage as the C. demersum. It is propagated by cutting the stem of the plant and placing it in the aquatic system.[3] After the organic matter is converted to soluble inorganic matter the C. submersum helps to oxygenates waste water.[19]


  1. ^ Lansdown, R.V. (2017). "Ceratophyllum submersum". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2017: e.T167833A96188202. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-1.RLTS.T167833A96188202.en. Retrieved 13 November 2022.
  2. ^ BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  3. ^ a b c "PlantFiles: Coontail, Tropical Hornwort, Soft Hornwort". Dave's Garden. Retrieved 2019-12-11.
  4. ^ soft hornwort UK wildflowers
  5. ^ Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  6. ^ Dobignard, A. & Chatelain, C. (2011). Index synonymique de la flore d'Afrique du nord 3: 1-449. Éditions des conservatoire et jardin botaniques, Genève.
  7. ^ Sheremetova, S.A., Ebel, A.L. & Buko, T.E. (2011). Supplement to the flora of Kemerovo region since 2001 till 2010. Turczaninowia 14(1): 65-74.
  8. ^ Lazkov, G.A. & Sultanova, B.A. (2011). Checklist of vascular plants of Kyrgyzstan. Norrlinia 24: 1-166.
  9. ^ Acevedo-Rodríguez, Pedro; Strong, Mark T. (2012). "Catalogue of Seed Plants of the West Indies". Smithsonian Contributions to Botany. 98: 1–1192. doi:10.5479/si.0081024x.98.1. hdl:10088/17551.
  10. ^ Mosti, Stefano; Raffaelli, Mauro; Tardelli, Marcello (2012). "Contribution to the Flora of Central-Southern Dhofar (Sultanate of Oman)". Webbia. 67: 65–91. doi:10.1080/00837792.2012.10670909. hdl:2158/654870. S2CID 128491512.
  11. ^ a b c Nagengast, Barbara; Gąbka, Maciej (January 2017). "Apparent niche partitioning of two congeneric submerged macrophytes in small water bodies: The case of Ceratophyllum demersum L. and C. submersum L.". Aquatic Botany. 137: 1–8. doi:10.1016/j.aquabot.2016.11.001. ISSN 0304-3770.
  12. ^ "Ceratophyllum submersum". Flowgrow. Retrieved 2019-12-11.
  13. ^ "Ceratophyllum submersum". Flowgrow. Retrieved 2019-12-11.
  14. ^ "Ceratophyllum submersum". Flowgrow. Retrieved 2019-12-11.
  15. ^ "Ceratophyllum submersum". Flowgrow. Retrieved 2019-12-11.
  16. ^ "Ceratophyllum submersum". www.cabi.org. Retrieved 2019-12-11.
  17. ^ Smith, S. J.; Wolfe-Murphy, S. A. (1991). "Ceratophyllum submersum L. Soft Hornwort, a Species New to Ireland". The Irish Naturalists' Journal. 23 (9): 374–376. ISSN 0021-1311. JSTOR 25539572.
  18. ^ a b c El-Sheekh, Mostafa M.; Haroon, Amany M.; Sabae, Soad (2018-09-01). "Seasonal and spatial variation of aquatic macrophytes and phytoplankton community at El-Quanater El-Khayria River Nile, Egypt". Beni-Suef University Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences. 7 (3): 344–352. doi:10.1016/j.bjbas.2018.03.002. ISSN 2314-8535.
  19. ^ "Ceratophyllum (PROSEA) - PlantUse English". uses.plantnet-project.org. Retrieved 2019-12-11.

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