Genus of the Week
Week of January 25-31
This page has been created for people who want to learn more about plants, especially in the
context of their taxonomy (Latin names, etc.). This is by no means an exhaustive list of
all available Web resources for a particular genus.
If you like this page, you should also visit the Land of the Glandular Trichomes
, a microscopic look at plants in the Lamiaceae family.
This week's genus:
Number of Species: at least 2
Root: From the Greek "kerato", meaning horn, and "fullon", meaning leaf; a reference to
the branched stems of this genus.
The genus Ceratophyllum, the only member of the Ceratophyllaceae, is considered to have
been one of the earliest of the Angiosperms, possibly having evolved before the divergence of
Monocots and Dicots. Plants in this genus are aquatic, and cannot survive unless they are
completely submerged. What sets them apart from other vascular plants is that they have no
roots, no stomata and no cuticle. Individuals intertwine to form floating mats that provide
protection for the young of various fish, mollusk and insect species.
Here are some links to images and information concerning the genus Ceratophyllum:
- The web site for Tropica Aquarium Plants of Denmark has an image of
C. demersum, along with information about its growth requirements.
- Visit the Marine Biochemist Aquatic Weed Control web site to see a
description and line drawing of C. demersum, commonly known by names such as
Coontail and Hornwort.
- The Plant Systematics Collection at the University of Wisconsin Madison has an extreme
close-up of the
whorled foliage characteristic of this genus.
- Read about
pollination of Ceratophyllum flowers at a web page devoted to Water Pollination in
Minnesota Plants. (Scroll down to Part 2, Underwater Pollination)
- Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
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