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Proserpinaca pectinata Tennessee.jpg
Proserpinaca pectinata in fruit
Scientific classification edit
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]

Two fossil fruits of †Proserpinaca previcarpa have been described from middle Miocene strata of the Fasterholt area near Silkeborg in Central Jutland, Denmark.[3]


  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. ^ 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