Ceratopteris thalictroides

Common Name(s): Watersprite, water horn fern

Non-Native to Florida

Video ID segment (2-3 minutes / transcript below)

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Watersprite is native to Asia (Wunderlin, 2003). However it may also be found in Florida’s ponds, ditches, canals and other slow moving waters in the central and southern peninsula.

Video Transcript

Water horn fern – Ceratopteris thalictroides
Water horn fern is not native to Florida. It is also known as watersprite. Water horn ferns are annual ferns. There are two species in Florida. Water horn ferns may be found floating, or rooted in the mud. The plants grow in still and sluggish waters of the peninsular part of Florida. Water horn fern leaf shapes are highly variable. There can be several types and shapes on one plant: some emersed and some floating. The floating leaves are often thick and fleshy, with deep lobes on the margins. One form of emersed leaves may be somewhat wide and relatively flat. Another form of emersed leaves is stiff, finely divided, and frilly. The leaflets may resemble thick needles. These frilly leaves are the reproductive leaves. They have ball-shaped sporangia on the undersides. Sporangia are the structures in which spores are produced. Ferns reproduce from spores; they do not produce flowers.
Water horn ferns have

  • highly variable leaf shapes
  • ball-like sporangia on some emersed leaves
  • are floating or rooted