Ceratophyllum demersum

Common Name(s): Coontail

Native to Florida

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Coontail is a submersed with no roots, and so is free-floating. It is frequently found growing in ponds, lakes, streams, and sluggish waters from the peninsula to the central and western peninsula of Florida. There are three species of Ceratophyllum in Florida (Wunderlin, 2003).

Coontail occurs in the entire U.S., in PR and the Virgin Islands, and throughout most of Canada (Kartesz, 1999).

Because its feathery leaves are arranged in whorls on the stem, this plant resembles a racoon’s tail. The fan-shaped leaves are best observed in the water. They look feathery because each leaf is divided into many narrow segments. Each leaf has several small teeth on the midribs. These tiny teeth give the plant a rough feel when pulled through the hand. Coontail’s flowers are very small and rarely seen.

Coontail may be confused with fanwort, Cabomba caroliniana.

For brief control information, see Efficacy of Herbicide Active Ingredients Against Aquatic Weeds by K. Langeland, M. Netherland, and W. Haller.