Coontail (Ceratophyllum demersum) is a free-floating submersed plant without any roots. They are found all over the world growing in sluggish water. Sometimes they are loosely anchored in the mud. Coontail draws its nutrients from the water directly rather than from sediment like most rooted aquatic plants. It can survive in cool waters and low light. During the winter months, it lives under the ice as an evergreen plant and resumes rapid growth in the spring.
Many people place coontails in their ponds to give protection and shade for fish especially for young bluegills, perch, largemouth bass, and northern pike. Coontail can also be importance to aquatic ecosystems as it supports insects that fish and ducklings eat.
However, once the amount of coontail becomes excessive, it can become a problem for the water body’s overall health and appearance. In addition, excessive amounts of coontail will interfere with boating, swimming and fish health.
How to Identify Coontail:
- Dark green forking leaves, up to 1 2 inches in length arranged in whorls on the stem
- Submersed plant without roots
- Plants may be bushy or very long and sparse
- Feathery leaves on the stem resemble a raccoon’s tail. The stems can be 1 to 2 feet in length.
- The leaf has small teeth on the midribs which make it rough to the touch
- It has very small flowers which are rarely seen