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CABOMBA FURCATA

Hardiness: Difficult
Light Needs: High
Plant Structure: Stem
Family: Cabombaceae
Genus: Cabomba
Region: Central/South America
Location: Central and South America
Size: Stem width: 5-8cm (2-3in)
Growth Rate: Fast
Can Be Grown Emersed: No

Description:

Though difficulties in prolonged cultivation have prevented the dazzling Cabomba furcata from ever achieving truly extensive popularity, it can be acquired sporadically through a few online aquatic plant nurseries and also through the handful of hobbyists who successfully maintain it. This Central and South American native can be found growing in still to slow-moving soft waters with an acidic pH, where broad mats bearing red to purple flowers form in the summer. Synonyms of this species include C. piauhyensis and C. warmingii.

Light is the primary hunger of this fine-leafed reddish stem plant, just as it is for most of the species in the Cabomba genus. Values of 3 or more watts per gallon are often required to maintain stable culture, since the shoots of this species easily weaken and break down if there is not enough light available. Surprisingly, a rich or regularly fertilized substrate enhances growth considerably. The fertilization of the water column with micronutrients is important, as is nitrate and phosphate supplementation. C. furcata will respond to nutrient deficiency with darkened leaves, substantially slowed growth, and elongated internodes. The color of this species can be amplified to a golden or pinkish color by the careful limitation of nitrate. Injected CO2 will most definitely aid both the appearance and the rate of growth of this species. Emersed culture is not possible, and the development of floating leaves and eventually flowers within the confines of an aquarium is a rarity. This species can temporarily be grown in outdoor ponds for the summer, where the development of flowers is a little more common.

The topping method is the best way to propagate this species. If the bottom portion of the trimmed shoot is left in the substrate, it typically will produce a new growth tip from its highest node. Under good conditions, this species grows very quickly and requires frequent prunings.

Unless it is kept in good condition, C. furcata is difficult to incorporate into an aquascape. If, however, good growth can be achieved, this plant contrasts well with other plants with fine leaves or light green colors in the midground to background of the aquarium. As the picture above shows, it also shows up particularly well when contrasted against driftwood.

Photo #1: US and International Copyright 2004 by mor_b All Rights Reserved.

Photo #2: US and International Copyright 2005 by Bjarne All Rights Reserved.

Photo #3: US and International Copyright 2007 by Tim Gross All Rights Reserved.