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Proserpinaca pectinata Tennessee.jpg
Proserpinaca pectinata in fruit
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Saxifragales
Family: Haloragaceae
Genus: Proserpinaca

See text

Proserpinaca, commonly called mermaidweed[1] is a genus of flowering plants in the watermilfoil family (Haloragaceae). It is a small genus, comprising only two to three species, all of which are native to eastern North America and the West Indies.[2] All species in this genus are found in aquatic or terrestrial wetland habitats.[2]

Proserpinaca can be distinguished from its relative Myriophyllum by having 3 stamens and carpels per flower (as opposed to having 4 or 8).[2]


Two or three species are known from this genus, depending on the treatment. They are:[2]

Fossil record[edit]

15 fossil fruits of †Proserpinaca ervinii from the early Miocene, have been found in the Kristina Mine at Hrádek nad Nisou in North Bohemia, the Czech Republic.[3] Two fossil fruits of †Proserpinaca previcarpa have been described from middle Miocene strata of the Fasterholt area near Silkeborg in Central Jutland, Denmark.[4]


  1. ^ "Proserpinaca". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Alan Weakley (2015). "Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States".
  3. ^ A review of the early Miocene Mastixioid flora of the Kristina Mine at Hrádek nad Nisou in North Bohemia, The Czech Republic, January 2012 by F. Holý, Z. Kvaček and Vasilis Teodoridis - ACTA MUSEI NATIONALIS PRAGAE Series B – Historia Naturalis • vol. 68 • 2012 • no. 3–4 • pp. 53–118
  4. ^ Angiosperm Fruits and Seeds from the Middle Miocene of Jutland (Denmark) by Else Marie Friis, The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters 24:3, 1985