Thursday, September 9, 2010

Cabomba in Colorado

Story: Trina
Photos: Greg

Please drop your jaws (just jaws; not drawers) because we've made an important botanical discovery. Inadvertently, perhaps. Cluelessly, perhaps, but still important.

Wikepedia tells us that Cabomba is a water plant native to Central and South America (Amazon region), found also in Cuba, Florida, and the eastern and west coast United States.

My personal botanical consultant tells me that Cabomba has not previously been documented in the wild in Colorado. Alas, it's not the discovery of a brand new species never before known to humankind, which means I don't get to name it Trinaana Trinaii. It's more likely just the first documented sighting (that we know of, and we're not looking too hard for evidence to the contrary) of what must surely be a (very lovely) new noxious invasive come to help the tamarisk choke the native plants from our waterways.

How did it get here? It's commonly used as an aquarium plant; maybe someone dumped their dirty fish tank out in a mountain stream. Maybe a guerilla gardener did a cabomba bombing.

We saw this Cabomba in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. If any of our 9,462 readers have seen it anywhere else it's not officially known to exist, we'd love to hear about it!

Another strange and wonderful flower we saw on the same trip, which we're pretty sure is in the Gentian family, although its petals are unusually long and fringed. If it is a Gentian, it's not a common one...


  1. Ha! I am just now processing and preparing to post pictures of that same exact flower - the blue one with fringed petals. We found them in certain parts of the Buffalo Peaks Wilderness area while backpacking and camping last weekend.


  2. The things that kills me about the aquatic one is that it looks in all ways up-an-down like Cabomba caroliniana, save for having five petals instead of six, which is pretty important. CSU has a wee picture on their "Aquatic Plants of Colorado" page, of what must be the same plant, five petals and all, but the photo is not labeled. If I had my Flora (book) I'd be a step closer...

    Secondly- Cabomba, you'd think, is a warm-blooded beast, but it has been reported in a county in upstate New York...

    I vow to get to the bottom of this if I must wait till I get to Colorado to do it! Flee, evildoers!