Hornwort

Hornwort Plant Information


Hornwort grows in the following 51 states:

Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, District Of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Oregon, West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington

Hornwort plants float in great numbers just under the surface. They offer excellent protection to fish-spawn, but also to snails that are infected with Bilharzia. Because of their appearance and their high oxygen production, they are often used in freshwater aquaria.Ceratophyllum grows completely submerged, usually, though not always, floating on the surface, and does not tolerate drought. The plant stems can reach 1-3 m in length. At intervals along nodes of the stem they produce rings of bright green leaves, which are narrow and often much-branched. The forked leaves are brittle and stiff to the touch in some species, softer in others. The plants have no roots at all, but sometimes they develop modified leaves with a rootlike appearance, which anchor the plant to the bottom. The flowers are small and inconspicuous, with the male and female flowers on the same plant. In ponds it forms thick buds (turions) in the autumn that sink to the bottom which give the impression that it has been killed by the frost but come spring these will grow back into the long stems slowly filling up the pond.Ceratophyllum is a cosmopolitan genus of flowering plants including four accepted species in 2016, commonly found in ponds, marshes, and quiet streams in tropical and in temperate regions. It is the only genus in the family Ceratophyllaceae, itself the only genus in the order Ceratophyllales. They are usually called coontails or hornworts, although hornwort is also used for unrelated plants of the division Anthocerotophyta.

Ceratophyllum is considered distinctive enough to warrant its own family, Ceratophyllaceae. It was considered a relative of Nymphaeaceae and included in Nymphaeales in the Cronquist system, but recent research has shown that it is not closely related to Nymphaeaceae or any other extant plant family. Some early molecular phylogenies suggested it was the sister group to all other angiosperms, but more recent research suggests that it is the sister group to the eudicots. The APG III system placed the family in its own order, the Ceratophyllales. The APG IV system accepts the phylogeny shown below:
The division of the genus into species is not completely settled. More than 30 species have been described, but many are probably just variants of these more widely accepted species:
Of these, Ceratophyllum demersum is widespread, with a global distribution; the others all have more restricted ranges.

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