Carolina Mosquito Fern

picture of mosquito fernAzolla caroliniana

Family:
Azollaceae

Lifecycle:
Annual

Native or Introduced:
Native

Nutrient Removal Rating:
Low

image closeup of Azolla caroliniana

Wildlife Value:
Low

Invasiveness:
Low

Rooted or Floating:
Floating

Site Requirements:
Full sun to partial shade

Maximum Water Depth:
n/a

Plant Description:
Carolina mosquito fern plants can be dark green, dark red, or dark green with red margins. They may float individually, but when growth conditions are ideal, mosquito ferns may form mats 1.5 inches in thickness. Plants typically measure approximately 0.5 inches in length with contorted surfaces that are actually very small fronds.

Thin, branched stems are covered by leaves. Small numbers of unbranched roots are also produced.

In temperate areas it can survive year round. Carolina mosquito fern lives in swamps, lakes, ponds and ditches. It is rare that only a single species of mosquito fern is present. Additionally, mosquito ferns are typically associated with duckweed.

Sources:

  • Audlbach-Smith, C.A., deKozlowski, S.J. 1996. Aquatic and Wetland Plants of South Carolina. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
  • Flora of North America (see link below),

Additional reading:picture of azolla with red and green foliage

picture of azolla with red and green foliage