Cabomba aquatica

Aublet (1775)

Family: Cabombaceae. Synonyms: Nectris aquatica (Aublet) Will-denow, C. schwartzii Rataj. Etymology: Cabomba: presumably an indigenous name from the natives of Guyana; aquatica: existing in water. Distribution: Northern and central South America.

Description: Aquatic plant, shoots up to 150 ,cm long. Leaves opposite. Leaf blade re-niform to almost circular in contour, 3.0-8.5 cm long, 4.0-9.5 cm wide, 5-merous on the base, leaf segments di- and trichotomously dissected several times and with numerous capillary segments, so that each blade displays up to 500 segments, these in distinctly different levels. There exist populations with green or wine red-colored plants.

Flowering shoot with more or less numerous, long petiolate floating leaves. Blade entire, flat, peltate, wide elliptical to roundish, 2.5-4 cm long, 1.3-3.5 cm wide, upper-side green, partially with a touch of wine red coloration, underside wine red to pink-violet. Flowers 3-10 cm petiolate, 5-12 mm in size,

2 and 3-merous, with 2 or 3 yellow sepals and petals each, as well as 3, 4 or 6 stamens and 1-3 carpels. Petals depicting orange-yellow base patches, distinctly auriculate; 1-4 ovules. Seeds ellipsoid-ovoid, mammilate, up to 3.5 x 2.5 mm. The type C. aquatica "schwartzii" usually has dimerous flowers, occasionally trimerous flowers cab also occur. Culture: There exist very different forms of C. aquatica. Known as the giant Cabomba, this green, under intense light also slightly red plant is often available from aquarium shops and has an especially high decorative status. It is, however, difficult to keep in the long run. A preferably salt-deficient, soft, moving water with a pH-yalue within the slightly acid range and a temperature of 23-25 °C is important. Light intensity has to be very high. Under optimum conditions, it is not uncommon for the plant to develop floating leaf shoots with trimerous flowers; fruit, too, can then be observed^ The reddish plants with dimerous flowers, know as C. aquatica "schwartzii," don't display a satisfactory growth in cultivation due to their extreme ecological requirements. A variation, collected in Venezuela by W. Staeck, displaying

Reddish shoots of C. aquatica from Venezuela. Green form of C. aquatica.

Reddish shoots of C. aquatica from Venezuela. Green form of C. aquatica.

Morichal Largo RiverBimerous FlowerCabomba Palaeformis Fassett

Bimerous flower of Cabomba aquatica. Flower of Cabomba palaeformis.

Cabomba Palaeformis Flower

Flower of C. furcata (type "warmingii").

Trimerous Petals

Flower of C. furcata (type "warmingii").

Flower of C. caroliniana var. flavida.

reddish shoots and trimerous flowers is also quite difficult to cultivate. Ecology: The C. aquatica "schwartzii" type grows in the lower to upper catchment area of the Rio Negro (Brazil), as well as in strong-current and lake-like waters without noticeable water movement. The ecological conditions there are characterized by an extremely acid (pH 4.3-5.3) and mineral-deficient, very soft (GH and KH < 1 °dH) water. In April 1992, W. Staeck collected reddish specimens of C. aquatica in the estuary of the Orinoco River in Venezuela (Rio Morichal Largo, Rio Uracoa). The plants existed in a strong current in clear, highly brown-colored water in locations receiving full sunlight. The substrate was sandy-boggy. Water values: temperature 30 °C, GH/KH < 1 °dH, pH value around 6, 30-50 |i,S/cm. The ecological conditions of the plant cultivated under the name of giant Cabomba are not known. Other: In a revision of the Cabomba species, 0rgaard (1991) reclassified the—until then independent—species C. aquatica "schwartzii" into synonyms of C. aquatica and explained this among others with the multiple shapes of the flowers. She considers the dimerous flowers of C. aquatica "schwartzii" only as an interspecific variation and consequence of mutation fixated in few populations. In her discourse, she continues to include only five species under the genus of Cabomba, four of which are aquaristically known and are described as follows: Cabomba haynesii Wier-sema (1989) (Syn. C. piauhyensis Gardner f. albida Fassett) has been known for many years but has only been imported on very few occasions and is not in culture with aquarists. The species is distributed in Central and South America, but this data is considered to be very incomplete. Cabomba haynesii is characterized by opposite leaves as well as white and pink-purple red-colored flowers, usually with three stamens. The seeds are also supposedly as large or slightly larger than those from C. furcata. Further reading: Kasselmann (1987b), 0r-gaard (1991, 1992).

Cabomba aquatica (type "schwartzii") on the lower reaches of the Paraná do Ariau, Brazil.

Cabomba Aquatica

Cabomba aquatica (type "schwartzii") on the lower reaches of the Paraná do Ariau, Brazil.

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