Re:Hornwort confusion

>Shane Earl Wernsing" <wern0047 at gold_tc.umn.edu> wrote March 8:

>   I have just recently made the leap into raising live plants.  I now have
>about a dozen cuttings of "hornwort" (_Ceratophyllum_demersum_).  The
>plant FAQ described hornwort as a floating plant.  However, my cuttings--which
>I've had for ~1 week--are sending down some white shoots from their bases.
>assuming these are roots.  So, I'm wondering:  is hornwort indeed a floating
>plant?  Perhaps it is a floating plant that prefers to be anchored to
>something?!  Anyway, I have placed 7 of them onto a large piece of "lava rock"
>in my tank.  I figure they can anchor onto it if they care to.  Some of the
>others are still free-floating.  Some others are near a ledge that I have for
>the fire-bellied newts in my tank.
>   I plan to get a few good books and also observe the plants' reactions to
>their relative placements.  In the meantime, can anyone tell me what is
>going on with these pseudo-floating hornworts?

I am pretty sure that what you have is not hornwort.  Real Ceratophyllum
does not produce roots.  It can anchor itself by growing slightly modified
shoots into the mud, but these would never be confused with roots. Hornwort
does quite well in the aquarium as a floating plant, but I have always seen
it well anchored in nature. I doubt that it can anchor itself to stones,
but I have seen on the leaves and stems of shoots pulled out of the mud
great numbers of long filaments that look like the kind of rhizoids
produced by mosses or liverworts.  These filaments appeared through the
microscope to be multicellular.  One possibility is that they might be
mycorrhizae (symbiotic fungae).  Dr. dave,  can you tell us anything more
about these?

Paul Krombholz                  Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS  39174