Cabomba aquatica
by Mrs. Siti Munirah Mat Yunoh
Cabomba aquatica
by Mrs. Siti Munirah Mat Yunoh

Cabomba aquatica Aubl. belongs to the Cabombaceae family which is closely related to the waterlilies, Nymphaeaceae, and with which it shares the aquatic habit, floating peltate or subpeltate leaves, and solitary waterlily-like flowers but it is distinguished from the waterlilies by its free, few-seeded carpels.

Cabomba aquatica has a green stem with submerged filiform leaves and also has peltate, broadly elliptic to oval leaves that are 5–20 by 4–15 mm with an entire margin and they are green above and are often deep magenta beneath. Usually they are floating but they can also be raised above the surface of water by a thick petiole, c. 7–35 mm long. The pedicels are hairy and 2–4 cm long. The flowers of C. aquatica are bright yellow and are 8–10 mm in diameter. The sepals are obovate, c. 7 by 3 mm and are tinged reddish at the base. The petals are ovate-oblong, c. 7 by 2–3 mm and the base extends into two equal, straight semi-ovate lobes with two elliptic, yellow-orange patches. The petal tip is truncate-obtuse or rarely emarginate. The stamens are bright yellow. It has 2 carpels, divergent at maturity, with 1–4 ovules each. Seeds black, ovoid-ellipsoid, 2–3.5 × 1.5–2.5 mm broad, surface verrucate.

This plant is usually found in both stagnant and slow-moving water, in fully exposed conditions. It can be free-floating as well as rooted.

Cabomba aquatica grows wild in South America (Brazil, French Guiana, Surinam, Guyana, Venezuela and Colombia). In Peninsular Malaysia, it has recently become naturalised in Sungai Mati, Muar, Johor.

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