HornwortHornwort is the name of both a species that lives out of the water, and a genus that lives in fresh water. They are not at all related. This entry has to do with the species that lives in the water. We are particularly focusing on hornwort in the water garden.

The scientific name for aquatic hornwort is not coontail. Hortwort gets the coontail nick name though because one of the species in this genus has hair-like spins that become dense as the stem tapers upward to and end.

Hornwort grows and lives as a free floater in fresh water bodies around the world. Hornwort of coons tail variety also attaches to the ground loosely. So, in a pond this plant can be potted, fixed to the pond bottom, or left a drift.

The most noted species in the aquatic Hornwort annotation of being part of the Ceratophyllaceae family are:

  • Species Ceratophyllum demersum L. coon’s tail
  • Species Ceratophyllum echinatum A. Gray spineless hornwort
  • Species Ceratophyllum muricatum Cham. prickly hornwort
  • Subspecies Ceratophyllum muricatum Cham. ssp. australe (Griseb.) D.H. Les prickly hornwort
  • Species Ceratophyllum submersum L.

Demersum L. or coons tail is the species scientific name for the plant visually attributed to tank aquariums. And this is the first plant that water gardeners look for when starting to search for what they ultimately will foster into their water garden when considering Hornwort as a candidate aesthetic.

The foliage of the Hornwort demersum l. coons tail is porous and grows the fastest during summer. This perennial will loose bits that will wither on the pond bottom, and repopulate the pond the next year as the bits that broke off and settled take to the soil.

The texture of the foliage is very thin, defined officially as fine. The plant grows from multiple spines producing gray to green foliage, blue flowers, and white seeds.

It doesn’t matter if the soil in your water garden is fine, course, or medium textured if the ph is right, and the stems per acre are less than 7000, than this plant can take well, spread fast growing up to 11 ft. in a season. Moderate pruning may be necessary depending on the look the water garden is designed for, and the amount of shade cover needed by the aquatic life the water gardener has decided to support due to aesthetic, habitat, or selection in zones 4 11.

In zone 4 of Iowa, retrieving a piece of horwort genus is easy to do in any lake or water way, such as a stream. If the plant is exposed above the water line, in windy conditions if could have insects caught or living in it that don’t need to be transferred to your pond at home, or in to your tank if you have both.

In a water garden pond Hornwort will give smaller fry a place to hide, as older fish a highly oxygenated hidden place to rear their young. Heavy pruning prior to fall with help the plants per acre be tuned way down since Horwort coons tail only grow in spring and summer.


Posted in Articles, Water Garden Plants by Administrator on September 22, 2009.

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