Invasive SpeciesFanwort

Cabomba caroliniana
NOT FOUND by vitalsleuth
ID Confirmed
Quality checked by manyeyes
Peer reviewed by
Field Notes
My research question is: Are there invasive aquatic plants at our wee rustic camp on China Lake. After checking the DEP invasive species infestations map and the VS map, my prediction was no because neither dataset showed any record of invasive species. For the three days I spent at camp, I checked the plants that floated beside me as I swam around and poked about the shoreline. I picked 2 species to document - both of which I think are native. What do you think? Anything suspicious?
Supporting Evidence
Photo of my evidence.
Going by name alone, I thought this plant might be fanwort because it has fan-shaped leaves. After I checked out the species card, I found our that this plant actually looks very little like fanwort. I think it is NOT invasive fanwort because these leaves are fork-divided. Fanwort has branch-divided leaves. I have a hard time telling fork- and branch-divided leaves apart, so if anyone has tips, please leave me a comment.
Photo of my evidence.
The leaves of this plant are arranged in whorls. Fanwort's leaves are opposite on the stem.
Photo of my evidence.
Maybe it's a hornwort??
Species Observation: Species Looked For
Did you find it?: 
I think I did not find it
Scientific name:
Cabomba caroliniana
Common name:
Sampling method: 
Just looking around
Photo of our sampling method.
Place Studied
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Map this species
N 44.473718 °
W -69.510568 °
Observation Site Information
A photo of our study site.
Freshwater - By water's edge
Trip Information
China Lake camp
Trip date: 
Thu, 2011-08-18 10:30
Town or city: 
Type of investigation: 
Species Survey
Lower Kennebec
MIDAS Code: 


I like how you made an informed prediction before you headed out. I hope you are right that there is nothing invasive by your "wee rustic camp."

It looks like a great place to relax and explore. Do you know if there is anything going on in the community to inform and mobilize people to keep invasives out of the lake? Are there many boat ramps? Are there inspectors at boat ramps? Do you think that you could be part of mobilizing and informing the community? What can you imagine doing to help inform folks around China Lake?

And awesome photos by the way!

I wish I had a tip to help you easily distinguish between branch divided and fork divided leaves though I'd say you did an excellent job figuring out this plant has a fork divided leaf. As you correctly surmised, this plant is a hornwort. Because the picture you provided shows the leaves only forking 1 - 2 times we know it is Ceratophyllum demersum, commonly refered to as coontail. Maine's other native hornwort is prickly hornwwort, C. echinatum, with leaves that fork 3 or more times.