USDA, NRCS. 2018. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 28 March 2018). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.
Illustration courtesy of University of Florida/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants. Used with permission.
What is Carolina Mosquito Fern?
- 2 small, overlapping lobes
- Mostly with clear ends
- 0.035 in long & 0.024 in wide
- Upper lobes: oval shape
- Lower lobes: smooth, larger and paler than upper part
- Deep-green to purplish red
Where Does it Grow?
Mosquito fern grows in the still water of swamps, ponds, lakes, and in slow-moving water of streams and resting on mud.
Is it Invasive?
Although Mosquito fern is native, they can be aggressive invaders in quiet ponds and are often found mixed in with duckweed or watermeal. If these fern colonies cover the surface of the water, then oxygen depletion and fish kills can occur. These plants should be controlled before they cover the entire surface of the pond.
Pros and Cons of Carolina Mosquito Fern
Dense colonies of mosquito fern provide habitats for many micro and macro invertebrates. They are used as food by fish and other wildlife species (e.g. amphibians, reptiles, ducks, etc.). After aquatic plants die, their decomposition by bacteria and fungi provides food (called detritus) for many aquatic invertebrates.